Views Article – Sharenet Wealth

Asia, Forex

Thai business group calls for more easing after surprise rate cut

BANGKOK, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Thailand’s central bank should cut its policy rate further to help ease upward pressure on the baht, which has stayed strong despite Wednesday’s surprise rate cut, the head of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said on Thursday.

The group also urged the Bank of Thailand to introduce additional measures to curb speculation in the baht, Kalin Sarasin told reporters after meeting with Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.

“Exporters have lost competitiveness because of the strong baht,” he said. “The rate cut has not weakened the baht much”.

On Wednesday, the BOT unexpectedly cut its policy interest rate for the first time since April 2015, by 25 basis points to 1.50%, citing concerns about slowing growth and the strong currency.

It said there was room to ease further, depending on economic data.

The baht is Asia’s best performing currency this year, appreciating about 6% against the dollar, further threatening Thailand’s trade-dependent economy amid rising global trade tensions.

Earlier on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told reporters he would set up a joint committee, which will include the central bank and the stock exchange, to closely discuss policies.

“Fiscal and monetary policies must be in step for the best benefit of the economy… there is no independence,” he said.

Thanavath Phonvichai of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said more rate cuts are needed to help boost domestic spending as consumer confidence in July fell to the lowest in almost two years.

“Purchasing power is disappearing and loans are tightening,” he said. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Kim Coghill)

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