Thai Baht Dips After Central Bank Rate Cut, Others Lower

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FILE PHOTO: Thai baht notes are seen at a Kasikornbank in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

 

The Thai baht extended losses on Wednesday after an interest rate cut by the Thai central bank, while most other Asian currencies dipped as markets awaited concrete details on China-U.S. tariff concessions.

 

The Bank of Thailand cut rates for a second time this year, with the benchmark one-day repurchase rate now at a record-low level as the bank attempts to shore up inflation and rein in a robust baht.

 

The bank also announced a further relaxation of foreign exchange rules, in particular allowing exporters to keep more foreign exchange proceeds abroad.

 

The baht <THB=TH> fell up to 0.63% after the announcement, touching its weakest level to the dollar in nearly three weeks. The baht is emerging Asia’s best performing currency this year.

 

“Asia’s most hawkish central bank finally conceded to the fact that the economy needed lower interest rates to stimulate the domestic spending and also to rein in the rapid pace of baht appreciation that’s been dampening prospects of any near-term recovery,” ING said in a note.

 

ING said the baht was likely to stretch its bull run into the year-end.

 

A strong baht has weighed on Thai exports and tourism, two crucial pegs for the economy.

 

“With one more policy meeting to go before the year-end, and given the BoT’s reluctance to ease earlier this year, we expect no more rate cuts this year,” ING said.

 

Broader markets tested gains made earlier in the week as investors digested a report suggesting that the United States was considering certain tariff concessions on China. [MKTS/GLOB]

 

China is also insisting that the United States remove tariffs imposed in September as a part of the “phase one” trade deal, which is expected to be signed this month at a yet-to-be-determined location.

 

The Philippine peso <PHP=> fell 0.32% after data showed its trade deficit widened in September from the previous month.

 

Markets however, expect a rebound in its third-quarter gross domestic product growth, according to a Reuters poll. The data is due on Thursday.

 

The Indonesian rupiah <IDR=ID> dipped 0.32%, to hold slightly below a level of about 14,000 to the dollar.

 

Bucking the trend, the Chinese yuan <CNY=CFXS> rose about 0.14% after the People’s Bank of China set its yuan midpoint at a three-month high.

 

The currency was also trading below its crucial 7 to a dollar level, having marked strong gains on the perceived progress in Sino-U.S. trade negotiations.

 

(Source: – Reuters)

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