The Thai baht has become the most devalued currency in Southeast Asia



The Thai baht became the most devalued among the most commonly traded currencies in Southeast Asia in the first quarter.

 According to research firm Refinitiv, the baht lost 4% of its value against the dollar when 31.24 baht for 1 USD, a high decline in Southeast Asia, which also recorded devaluation of many other currencies.  On March 31, the baht fell to its lowest price in six months.

The Thai baht has become the most devalued currency in Southeast AsiaThe Thai baht has become the most devalued currency in Southeast Asia / ph: pexels

 Weak fundamentals of the Thai economy have resulted in the devaluation of the baht.  The Southeast Asian country's current account in the fourth quarter of 2020 saw a deficit of $1.4 billion from a surplus of $6.6 billion in the previous third quarter and a surplus of $11.5 billion in the same period last year.  

 According to the Central Bank of Thailand, the current account in the fourth quarter of 2020 “fell into a deficit” for the first time since the third quarter of 2014.

 Tourist services revenue, the major contributor to Thailand's current account surplus, fell to $742 million in the first quarter, just 5% of the same period last year, because border closure in response to an acute epidemic of respiratory infections Covid-19.

It is reported that the tourism industry contributes more than 62% of Thailand's current account surplus in 2019.

 From April, Thailand will shorten the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, in order to restore the influx of tourists and spending.

 The depreciation of baht is also due to seasonal business factors.  The manufacturing facilities in Thailand of large Japanese companies have remitted some of the cash back home before the end of the fiscal year in Asia's second-largest economy in March.

 Although not overly concerned about the depreciation of the baht after rising to a seven-year high in December 2020, the Thai government is concerned about the adverse impact of a weak local currency on industrial exports.

 In Southeast Asia, the Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit fell 3.4% and 3.1% in Q1, respectively. The Singapore dollar (SGD) fell more than 1%.

The Thai baht has become the most devalued currency in Southeast Asia

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