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SHIFT Mixed reaction to lifting of capital controls


March 2, 2008

Mixed reaction to lifting of capital controls

Thai private investors have expressed mixed reactions regarding the Bank of Thailand (BoT) decision to lift the 30 per cent foreign capital controls, imposed since December 2006, starting from March 3.

Chookiat Opaswong, president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said he personally agreed with the decision to scrap the measure because the controls failed to stem the strengthening of the Thai currency, the baht, as it had continued to strengthen steadily, especially during the past two days, Thai News Agency reported.

However, the BoT must have some measures such as, for example, lowering interest rates, to cushion any impact after the control was scrapped and to prevent heavy foreign inflows, said Mr. Chookiat.

Poj Aramwattananond, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, disagreed with the central bank's decision, saying the BoT had not come up with appropriate supportive measures before scrapping the controls.

Local exporters have been suffering losses because of the measures, according to Mr. Pote, adding that the baht had strengthened heavily against currencies of neighbouring countries.

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