Baht gains most in three weeks

Thailand's baht rose the most in almost three weeks after voters cast ballots across 90% of the country Sunday without triggering major violence.

The baht strengthened 0.3%, the most since Jan 14, to 32.915 per United States dollar as of 8.56am, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency fell every day last week, declining 0.6%.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she was pleased with the situation because there was no violence, after polls closed at 3pm local time Sunday. She deployed 10,000 police in Bangkok, having declared a state of emergency to avoid a repeat of the disturbances that obstructed advance voting in the south and most of the capital on Jan 26. Global funds have pulled a net US$4.7 billion from the country's bonds and stocks since the protests began Oct 31, official data show.

"There was some concern surrounding the election but it ended without any chaos, leading to some buy-backs of the baht," said Kozo Hasegawa, a currency trader at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp in Bangkok. "But a rebound in the baht may be limited as there's no change in the situation with political unrest continuing."

Results delayed

The country's third general election since a 2006 coup will do little to quell street protests by groups demanding Yingluck’s resignation and the installation of an appointed government. The results of the poll, which the main opposition Democrat Party boycotted, won’t be announced until by-elections are held in dozens of districts where protesters blocked candidates from registering.

Ten people have been killed and almost 600 injured since the protests began. Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat powerbroker who has led a three-month campaign to oust Ms Yingluck, said the election will be annulled because his group blocked candidates from registering in some provinces and shut down polling stations during advance voting. Protesters have also occupied several major intersections in the city since Jan 13 in a bid to prevent Ms Yingluck's government from functioning.

One-month implied volatility in the baht, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 7.4%.

The yield on the 3.125% government bonds due December 2015 declined one basis point to 2.44%.

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