Swiss firm sees continued baht rise

Swiss firm sees continued baht rise

Swiss wealth and asset manager Lombard Odier is bullish on the baht, reckoning the currency will run up further to surpass 30 to the US dollar by year-end.

Lombard Odier predicts the baht to keep rising to a range of 29.59-29.89 against the greenback by the end of 2019, said Homin Lee, head of portfolio solutions for Asia and Asian macro strategy. 

The baht is the top-performing currency in Asia, gaining about 6% this year to hit a fresh six-year high of 32.52 to the dollar. The currency strengthened 2.5% in the three months to June, the fastest pace among emerging Asian peers.

Lombard Odier's forecasts are based on the assumption that the US Federal Reserve cuts rates and the dollar retreats.

The Fed is widely expected to cut its key rate twice this year, by 25 basis points each time, Mr Lee said, adding that the first cut is expected by September and the other by December.

The stronger baht will boost Thailand's purchasing power and open more opportunities for domestic investment, particularly infrastructure megaprojects in the Eastern Economic Corridor, he said.

Such a result would add an engine to the Thai economy in addition to exports, Mr Lee said.

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