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Calls Grow for Another Thai Rate Cut as Baht Surge Dims Outlook

Natnicha Chuwiruch
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Calls Grow for Another Thai Rate Cut as Baht Surge Dims Outlook

(Bloomberg) -- Thai industry, under pressure from currency strength and the impact of the U.S.-China trade standoff, is looking to the Bank of Thailand for an economic lifeline.

Another quarter-point interest-rate cut would be “good for the baht and the economy,” Federation of Thai Industries Chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said in an interview Tuesday, adding the domestic economy isn’t very strong. The federation is one the country’s largest trade associations, representing about 12,000 members.

Thailand’s tourism and exports reliant economy expanded last quarter at the slowest pace in almost five years. The government this month unveiled a stimulus package worth over $10 billion and the central bank unexpectedly lowered borrowing costs to 1.5% from 1.75% to prop up growth.

The Bank of Thailand is likely to cut interest rates to 1.25% in the fourth quarter, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 32 economists conducted from Aug. 19 to Aug. 26.

Exporters often cite 32 baht to the dollar as an acceptable level for the currency, according to Supant.

The baht was trading at 30.57 to the dollar as of 6 p.m. Tuesday in Bangkok. It’s appreciated more than 6% this year, the strongest performer in a basket of emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natnicha Chuwiruch in Bangkok at nchuwiruch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sunil Jagtiani at sjagtiani@bloomberg.net

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