Pattaya Daily News

01 March 2008 :: 15:03:03 pm 4007

BOT Lifts Foreign Capital Controls by 30%

Thai private investors have expressed mixed reactions regarding the Bank of Thailand (BoT) decision to lift the 30 per cent foreign capital controls, imposed since December 2006, starting from next Monday.
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Bangkok, the 1st of March 2008 [TNA]: Chookiat Opaswong, president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said he personally agreed with the decision to scrap the measure because the controls failed to stem the strengthening of the Thai currency, the baht, as it had continued to strengthen steadily, especially during the past two days.

However, the BoT must have some measures such as, for example, lowering interest rates, to cushion any impact after the control was scrapped and to prevent heavy foreign inflows, said Mr. Chookiat.

BoT Governor Tarisa Watanagase announced yesterday the lifting of the controversial measures to take effect March 3, ending the regime of the unremunerated reserve requirement (URR) after nearly 15 months in effect, a measure that was introduced to rein in the volatility of the Thai baht when demand was falling and “robust export growth was the main driver of the economy”.

Poj Aramwattananond, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, disagreed with the central bank’s decision, saying the BoT had not come up with appropriate supportive measures before scrapping the controls.

Local exporters have been suffering losses because of the measures, according to Mr. Pote, adding that the baht had strengthened heavily against currencies of neighbouring countries.

Echoing Mr. Chookiat’s opinion, Pichai Lertsupongkij, senior marketing director of Thanachart Fund Management, said he believed that the Thai stock market should react positively because the controls had not been welcomed by foreign investors.

The controls had affected exporters as well, but they had hedged their losses to a certain extent, Mr. Pichai said, adding that what concerned officials were concerned about now was to prevent heavy currency inflows for speculative reasons. Exporters still could accept it, he said, if the Thai baht sremained at around Bt31 against the dollar. The baht late yesterday stood at Bt31.45 per dollar compared to about Bt31.99 on the onshore market. (TNA)

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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