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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  March 2011

Baht increase to decline

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Pressure on the Thai baht’s appreciation should ease from last year in line with a declining trade surplus and rising outbound foreign direct investment, according to local officials.

After accelerating in last year's fourth quarter, export sales have slowed this year, causing the baht to weaken.

Meanwhile, outbound foreign direct investment amounted to 870 million baht in the first two months of this year, with lending for their expansion totaling 2.65 billion baht. For all of 2010, outward direct investment was 1.3 billion (US$42.9 million) with lending for expansion totaling 7.2 billion baht.

The central bank has also found foreign bond investors are buying more hedging contracts. Net foreign selling has been recorded so far this year by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, while the bond market has recorded net foreign buying.

The central bank expects the net gains from trade and service revenue to stand at US$10-13 billion this year, down from $15 billion last year.

The central bank's priority in foreign exchange management is to ensure that baht volatility is acceptable to businesses.

The central bank expects core inflation will rise above the 3 percent upper range of the target toward year-end, in line with the rising oil price and salary increases.

It currently forecasts headline consumer prices will increase by 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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