Baht advances most in three months

Thailand's baht strengthened the most in almost three months as no violence was reported during the blockade of Bangkok by anti-government demonstrators.

"The protest is likely to remain peaceful,'' Charamporn Jotikasthira, president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's administration has faced more than two months of street rallies demanding her resignation and electoral reforms. The baht strengthened for a third day as the latest US jobs data eased concern the Federal Reserve (Fed) will quicken reductions in its debt purchases that have buoyed emerging markets.

"At least we don't see any significant developments on the domestic political front,'' said Kozo Hasegawa, a currency trader at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp in Bangkok. "There's some support from US data side for the baht. Still, political unrest is lingering and the baht is unlikely to gain sharply.''

The currency climbed 0.6%, the most since Oct 17, to 32.78 per dollar as of 2.06pm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It reached 32.745 earlier, the strongest level since Jan 2. One-month implied volatility in the baht, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, increased six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 7.2%.

US employers added 74,000 workers last month, the least since January 2011, official figures showed on Jan 10. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was for an increase of 197,000. The Fed said in December it will cut its monthly debt buying by US$10 billion to $75 billion starting January amid signs of an improvement in the labor market.

The yield on the 3.875 percent government bonds due June 2019 was little changed at 3.44%t, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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