Finance minister puts baht’s rise down to currency speculation

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The baht has been strengthening since last week despite the ongoing political conflict, the finance minister said, adding that speculation may be key to this.

The baht closed at Bt30.23 to the greenback on Monday, weakening slightly after opening at Bt30.16 in the morning session.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said in the afternoon that he has discussed the issue with the central bank, which is eyeing measures to deal with the situation.

He added that the currency rate was in line with the Stock Exchange of Thailand index, which has been affected positively by Joe Biden’s win in the US. The stock market has also been supported by foreign capital flow in Thailand and the rest of Asia.

Arkhom said currency speculation is also a topic of concern. “We need to take several steps to tackle this,” he added.

The minister also cited the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC)’s announcement that it expects the economy to grow by between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent next year, driven by rising domestic demands, recovery of the world economy, trade, government spending and economic stimulus.

He said the gross domestic product (GDP) had contracted by 6.4 per cent, though people’s spending in the third quarter of this year has risen by 6.3 per cent compared to the second quarter. Also, he said, public investment has risen by 18.5 per cent in the previous quarter.

“My ministry will do its best to stimulate people’s spending,” he added.