Stronger baht seen as fleeting

Apisak says one-offs drove first-half surge

Tourists use a currency exchange service kiosk in Bangkok. The finance minister is the latest official to downplay the firming baht. (Photo by Phrakrit Juntawong)

The strength of the baht, which last week leapfrogged the Korean won to become the best-performing currency in Asia against the US dollar in 2017, will be short-lived and is not a threat to exports in the second half, says Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong.

Mr Apisak pointed to two large foreign investments in Thailand in the first half as supporting factors in the baht's rise.

He said the local currency was driven upward by a deal in which a Taiwanese bank paid 16.6 billion baht for a nearly 36% stake in SET-listed LH Financial Group Plc, the parent firm of Land and Houses Bank, as well as another foreign deal involving an investment in an insurance firm under a commercial bank.

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