All eyes on BOT data as baht hits highest level in six years


The baht appreciated to Bt30.15 against the US dollar last week, its highest level in six years on Friday, Kasikornbank said.

Kasikornbank has forecast that the baht could move in a range of Bt30-30.30 to the dollar this week (December 30 to January 3). Investors sold dollars after US economic data showed signs of disappointments such as weaker-than-expected orders for durable goods and lower new-home sales.
The baht was up 8 per cent in 2019 from the 2018 closing price of Bt32.55, according to Kasikornbank.
The baht’s appreciation has been driven by the country’s current account surplus and investor perception of the baht being a safe-haven currency.
As of December 27, the baht moved in a range of Bt30.15 to Bt32.43 in 2019. Thai exporters have complained about the baht’s appreciation hurting exports and recently Japanese carmaker Mazda said it might move a part of its car manufacturing facility in Thailand back to Japan due to the impact of the strong baht.
The market will be closely watching the Bank of Thailand’s economic report for November, which is due to be released on Monday, as well as December’s inflation rate. Among key external events, investors are waiting for the signing of a trade deal between the United States and China and release of the Fed’s meeting minutes. Key US economic data due this week include the United States purchasing managers index, consumer confidence index in December, number of home-purchase contracts, the home price index and jobless benefits claims.