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NEWS UPDATES 14 August 2010

Thai foreign investment returns

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The Bank of Thailand sais foreign direct investment is returning as political and economic stability appears to be returning to the country..

During the first week of August, the bond market enjoyed US$400 million in net foreign capital inflows, reflecting investor anticipation of further interest rate increases, while the stock market recorded $187 million in net foreign capital flows, , the deputy governor for monetary stability Bandid Nijathaworn said.

These factors together with strong export revenue have led to a continued baht appreciation to 31.92 to the US dollar from 32.16 at the start of the year.

Bandid said the stronger baht would reduce import costs, in turn helping to reduce economic risk from overreliance on external drivers.

Even so, international reserves continued to increase, reaching $153 billion as of August 6 from $140 billion at the start of the year and reflecting the central bank's steady buying of the dollar.

Its swap position decreased to $12 billion from $16 billion during the same period. US policymakers will likely use an easy monetary policy as an economic stimulus in light of fiscal constraints.

The trend will lead to a further weakening of the dollar, he said. The Thai central bank is expected to increase interest rates further after increasing them by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent in mid-July.

Any further change to the policy interest rate will be decided at the next Monetary Policy Committee meeting on August 25. In any case, the baht's appreciation will help to ease inflation, as imports account for 15 percent of the consumer price index, he stated.

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