ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Strong Thahi baht examined
Concerns are growing, both among trade officials and exporters, some of whom see the baht moving as high as 30 to the US dollar this year, from around 31.20 at present.
It’s believed that the target export growth rate of 20 percent won’t be achieved if the baht’s value increases to 30 baht to the dollar.
The Bank of Thailand will be asked to think carefully before increasing interest rates again, since higher rates could attract even more foreign capital and place further pressure on the local currency.
The central bank has lifted its benchmark twice in the past three months, to 1.75 percent. The Finance Ministry is to be asked to consider measures to help small and medium-sized exporters manage foreign-exchange risks.
The Export-Import Bank should be directed to give advice or offer affordable financial instruments to hedge against the exchange rate to SMEs, she said.
Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai also wants the Exim Bank to extend special credit lines in two currencies _ baht and dollars _ for use as working capital while shipments are in progress to reduce forex risk for exporters.
The baht has been the third best performer in Asia this year, behind the Japanese yen and Malaysian ringgit, gaining 7 percent against the dollar since January.
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