The Thai Baht weakened from late February to early March, 2019 after hitting a five-year record high of THB31.07 per Dollar. The Baht traded within a range of THB31.80-THB31.85 per Dollar (as of March 5, 2019) amid varied pressures, namely domestic factors and US Dollar short-covering from many market participants. The Baht's movement was consistent with net sales in the Thai equity and bond markets by foreign investors. At the same time, the Dollar began gaining ground against other currencies, backed by economic data and rising treasury yields after positive signs of an imminent trade deal between Washington and Beijing.
Nonetheless, the downward movement of the Thai Baht in the past two weeks was rapid and more volatile than that of any other Asian currencies. Based on currency movements from February 20 - March 5, 2019, the Dollar index edged up 0.3 percent, while the Baht dipped 2.4 percent, falling more than the Japanese Yen and Indonesian Rupiah, which dropped 1.0 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Moreover, the Baht's volatility rate since the beginning of 2019 stands at 5.1 percent, greater than 2018's volatility rate of 4.6 percent. Therefore, business operators are advised to cover their exchange rate risks through regular forex hedging.
In the short term, factors deserving close attention include domestic issues such as Thailand's international trade figures and local politics. At the international level, special attention should be paid to the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting scheduled for March 19-20, 2019, and the summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on March 27, 2019. In spite of positive signs thus far, the outcome of the talks and details of possible trade deals are difficult to predict. As these varied domestic and international factors continue to evolve going forward, KResearch predicts that the Thai Baht's present volatility will persist as well.
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