Strength of the baht



Your issue April 10 contained several letters from expats bemoaning their shrinking income thanks to the strength of the baht.  Indeed, we are all suffering from the consequences of that syndrome.

But fathoming exchange rates needs to go further than the cost of shopping in the supermarket, the shortage of tourists from western Europe, issues arising from the military coup of May 2014 and other bread and butter concerns.

Thailand in particular learned a lot from the Asian financial crisis of 1997 which resulted in the British pound being worth 92 baht for a short time before the long slide we have experienced since.  Thai governments since that crisis, civilian or military, have ensured that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have been kept high.

According to raw IMF data in January 2015 – and yes the whole subject is too complex for me and probably most readers – Thailand had the 14th highest reserves in the world and greater than any EU country except Germany.  You can Google “Foreign Reserves of Thailand” for yourself.

I suspect that the lessons of 1997 have much to do with the fact that two beers used to cost you a pound.  Nowadays you need nearly two pounds just to pay for one bottle.  Burp!

Barry Kenyon