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Stronger baht hits a 31-month high

The baht has risen 9.9% this year to 32.50 baht per US dollar, hitting a 31-month high

Boris Sullivan

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The private sector has voiced concerns about the stronger baht, which recently hit a 31-month high, saying it could hurt exports and tourism as well as the overall Thai economy.

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The baht has risen 9.9% this year to 32.50 baht per US dollar, hitting a 31-month high.

Mr Kalin said the JSCCIB predicts exports this year to grow 6.5-7.0%, up from a previous forecast of 3.7-4.0%.

The Commerce Ministry forecasts export growth approaching 10% this year.

Exports totalled US$20.1 billion (658 billion baht) in October, up 13.1% year-on-year, while the 10-month figure reached 95.5 billion, up 9.7% year-on-year, according to the Commerce Ministry’s data.

But the private sector and the Commerce Ministry believe that while exports will continue growing next year, such growth could be muted by the high-base effect, Mr Kalin said.

Some businesses have demanded new measures from the Bank of Thailand to curb the baht’s rise. The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) estimates that the stronger baht could cut export revenue by as much as 345 billion baht for 2017.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Board of Trade, said the baht is rising too fast and it will have a negative impact on exports, making shipments miss the chamber and government target of 6-8% this year.

He said the Bank of Thailand should issue measures to help curb the rise of the baht before it starts eroding exports, which account for more than 60% of the country’s GDP. Strong baht sparks fears | Bangkok Post: news

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