BANGKOK, Sept 21 — Thailand’s central bank is monitoring the weak baht, which was not entirely bad for the economy and could help the key exports and tourism sectors, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in remarks aired on Thursday.
The baht traded from 35.86 – 36.15 range and closed at 36.15 against the dollar. Srettha, speaking during a visit to the United States (US), said the government is not intervening.
Capital outflows from interest rate differentials drove the Thai currency’s depreciation, he told reporters, adding the country had ample liquidity so it was not a concern.
The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and edged the dollar higher against a basket of currencies.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has been seeing weaker-than-expected exports, which are seen falling one per cent to two per cent this year, with the economy expected to grow 2.8 per cent.
“A weak baht is not bad all bad … it helps exports, and more people will want to travel and spend money. We can benefit,” Srettha said.
His government plans to boost growth with tourism, waiving visa requirements for Chinese over five months to draw in more visitors. China was a major travel market for Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thailand, a key Asian travel hotspot, is targeting 28 million foreign arrivals this year.
In 2019, there was a record of 39.9 million foreign tourists, including 11 million from China.
The government earlier said it aims for five million Chinese tourists this year.