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Central bank: the baht remains competitive


February 23, 2008

Central bank: the baht remains competitive

Thailand's central bank, which continues to take action to slow the baht's consistent rise against the dollar, remains confident that it can rein in the country's growing inflation even though global oil prices have risen to over $100 per barrel.

While the currency has strengthened in line with other Asian currencies, the baht remained competitive against exporters in neighbouring countries, Reuters quoted assistant central bank governor Suchada Kirakul as saying.

In a related report by Thai News Agency, Amara Sripayak, senior director of the bank’s Local Economy Division, said the oil price surge lived up to the expectation of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee, which expected the inflation rate would stay in a range of 0-3.5 percent.

"The latest oil price surge does not mean the situation will escalate as in the past. The MPC views the current situation as being not beyond expectations," she said.

Amara said new factors to be raised for discussion at the next MPC meeting on February 27 include the sharp interest rate cut by 0.75 percent by the US Federal Reserve and improved confidence due to a clearer Thai political direction.

She however conceded the latest consumer confidence index edged up due mainly to the improved political environment and an acceleration of scheduled budget disbursements to stimulate the economy.

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