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Asia, Forex

Thai industry minister urges to intervene to curb baht

BANGKOK, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Thailand’s new industry minister on Monday urged the central bank to intervene more in foreign exchange markets to help private companies suffering from the strengthening baht.

Suriya Juangroongruangkit also told a business forum that he will seek to discuss baht strength soon with Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.

“If I can beg… the central bank governor to pay particular attention to the appreciation of the baht,” he said.

“The benefit for the private sector will be more than the cost spent by the central bank in intervening in the market”.

Businesses want the baht to be 32 per U.S. dollar, he said.

The baht was trading at 30.78 at 0753 GMT. It has gained 5.7% this year, becoming Asia’s top performing currency.

The baht’s strength is further threatening Thai exports, which are already under pressure from slowing global demand.

At a separate event, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told reporters that government stimulus measures to be unveiled later this month should help the economy grow more than 3% this year.

The central bank has forecast 2019 growth of 3.3%, while ING sees only 2.8%. Last year’s growth was 4.1%. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Kim Coghill)

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