Private sector proposes baht as border trade currency


BANGKOK, May 17 – The Thai private sector is satisfied with the baht movement at Bt29-30 against the US dollar – a rate on par with other regional currencies, according to the president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC).

Issara Wongkusolkit said after meeting with Bank of Thailand (BoT) governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul yesterday that the private sector has asked the central bank to negotiate with central banks in neighbouring countries on possible use of the baht for border trade.

With the baht as a single currency for border trading, it would be more flexible and traders will not have to bear extra costs from mandatory currency exchanges, he said. However, border traders prefer using US dollars.

Mr Issara said that border trade has expanded rapidly and its volume has grown steadily.

Thailand has set this year’s export target at 8-9 per cent but Mr Issara said that Q2 performance will give a clear picture on whether the target is achievable.

He said the private sector wants the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) to increase loans with special interest rates to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“We will see closer cooperation between the central bank and the private sector as we want to ensure baht stability and movement along the line of regional currencies,” he said.

He added that the private sector did not ask the BoT to lower the interest rate or issue any special measures to tackle the baht situation.

Former Thai Chamber of Commerce president Pongsak Assakul said the private sector urged the central bank to enforce its four-point measure to rein in the baht and slow down foreign capital inflows.

He complimented the BoT for its efficiency in tackling the baht movement and maintaining it at levels similar to other regional currencies.