170 billion baht
The Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase denied
reports that the recent amendment to the Currency Act was proposed with an
aim to liquidate accumulated losses the bank had incurred from its currency
She said the Act was amended to reduce risks from the international reserve
management and enhance efficiency in supervision of the currency movement.
The amended Act, if enacted, would serve as the most effective way to
oversee maintaining the baht’s value, Mrs. Tarisa indicated.
The central bank is ready to supervise the baht movement to the utmost of
its ability, she said, adding that she wanted to call on the media not to
ask about the baht movement on a daily basis.
She emphasized that the depletion of 170 billion baht from the bank’s
intervention in the currency movement last year is simply an accounting loss
from the weakening of the US dollar against the baht.
BoT assistant governor Nitaya Pibulratanagit said the bank had not yet
noticed signs of a foreign capital outflow although foreign investors had
sold more than 15 billion baht in shares during the past six days last week.
She said that foreign investors needed not to take the funds out of the
country immediately when they had already sold their shares.
Overseas investors are permitted to deposit the money in special
non-resident accounts, which are limited to no more than 300 million baht
per day. TNA
Top forecaster sees
baht breaking through 30
The baht might further strengthen until it breaks through
the level of 30 to the US dollar early next year unless the Bank of Thailand
comes up with additional measures to curb the currency fluctuation,
according to a leading economic forecaster.
Thanawat Phonwichai, director of the University of Thai Chamber of
Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said the baht is likely
to further appreciate at the end of this year because the current account
balance is expected to be in surplus, with at least US$2-3 billion more
expected to flow into the stock market.
He did not believe the six measures issued earlier by the central bank would
be able to make the baht weaken to 34-35 to the dollar.
“Should no new measures be issued, we may see the baht strengthen to 32 to
the dollar by the end of this year and further appreciate to 30 to the
dollar early next year,” Dr. Thanawat said.
“The government needs to issue more measures to curb the baht surge. It may
set up an independent fund with an initial facility of $5-10 billion to
intervene in the currency exchange rate. However, it has risk in management
unless the fund manager has enough expertise,” he said.
Dr. Thanawat said he personally believed the 30 per cent reserve requirement
had widened the baht value in the onshore and offshore market.
It had encouraged people to speculate on both markets. So, he thought the
measure should be rescinded. TNA
Thaksin’s lawyers attempt
to reclaim assets
Lawyers of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, his
family members and relatives have formally pleaded for the Assets
Examination Committee to consider unfreezing their respective assets in
The lawyers have separately lodged petitions for the AEC to consider
unfreezing varied bank accounts owned by Mr Thaksin and others, including a
frozen batch of 40 billion baht owned by Panthongtae and Pintongtha
Shinawatra, son and daughter of the deposed prime minister respectively, a
frozen 500 million baht account belonging to Mr. Thaksin, a frozen 2.8
billion baht account of his wife Pojaman, a frozen 100 baht million account
of Yinglak Shinawatra, a sister of the former prime minister, and a frozen
19 billion baht account of Bannaphot Damaphong, Mrs. Pojaman’s stepbrother.
The bank accounts were frozen on the order of the AEC which had litigated
Mr. Thaksin and his family and relatives on corruption and misconduct
charges pertaining to last year’s sales of their Shin Corp stocks to
Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
The lawyers of the defendants argued that acquisitions of all the frozen
fortunes had by no means involved the controversial Shin Corp transactions
as earlier alleged and that they had held their stocks well before Mr.
Thaksin became prime minister several years ago.
In Mr. Bannaphot’s case, one lawyer said, Mrs. Pojaman’s brother had held
his stock for 11 years before they changed hands last year.
However, AEC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang said it is very unlikely for his
panel to consider the petitions in such a short period of time and that the
defendants themselves, and not their lawyers, should show up and testify
before an AEC subcommittee in charge of verifying assets acquisitions.