BANGKOK, 18 January 2013 Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong has downplayed the continuous rise of the Thai baht against the US dollar, saying a stronger baht had been in anticipation due to depreciation of the American currency in overseas markets. Compared to other currencies, the Minister said the baht did not rise significantly.
Mr. Kittiratt said the baht rise would affect the export sector only if the baht rate went to 29 baht per US dollar. One US dollar was valued at around 30 baht on Friday. He said the Bank of Thailand (BoT) would be allowed to intervene in the market on a temporary basis as the rise of about 20 satang in the daily baht value was not a welcoming sign.
The Finance Minister also remarked that it was the BoT’s duty to keep the influx of foreign capitals under control. He said however that it was common for the baht to fluctuate, but fluctuations must not be too frequently.
The Minister also mentioned that the advantages of Baht rise include cheaper import goods and fuel as well as low inflation rates; however, a stronger Baht could have significant impact on the export sector as its income would be lower.
He further stated that the government will not enforce any measures to tame the Baht but will encourage industrialists, particularly SMEs, to import more machinery to replace the old ones. It will also try maintaining the current account balance at no more or less than 1% of the GDP in an attempt to stabilize the Baht.