Thai Baht gains most in a month

Thailand’s baht strengthened the most in a month and bonds rose after police began dismantling anti-government demonstration sites.

Riot police removed barriers, sandbags and tents outside Government House on Feb 14, when onshore financial markets were closed for a public holiday.

Gross domestic product increased 0.6% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, more than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for a 0.3%, official data showed Monday. Most Asian currencies rose today after China reported record new credit in January.

“Thai protests are still going on, but at least we don’t see a worsening of the situation,” Koji Fukaya, chief executive officer and currency strategist at FPG Securities Co. in Tokyo. “That makes it easier for investors to buy back the baht while emerging markets are in a recovery mood.”

The baht climbed 0.7% from Feb 13, the most since Jan 14, to 32.364 per dollar as of 11:09am in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 32.28 earlier, the strongest level since Dec 19. One-month implied volatility in the baht, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, dropped five basis points on Monday, or 0.05 percentage point, to 6.35%.

Since the anti-government protests began on Oct 31, demonstrators have occupied ministries, blockaded Bangkok intersections and disrupted polling during the Feb 2 election to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. The movement has waned in recent weeks, with numbers dwindling to fewer than 100 at some demonstration sites.

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