BoT mulls unlocking offshore rules

BoT mulls unlocking offshore rules

The Bank of Thailand is assessing a move to relax regulations related to offshore market investment for individual investors to help manage foreign exchange amid excess capital across the world.

The central bank has discussed with regulatory bodies relaxing conditions for foreign asset investment for local individual investors. The adjustment would provide more opportunities for local individual investors to invest abroad.

The central bank is also considering permitting more sales of foreign financial products in the local market based on an "outflow recycle concept", said Mathee Supapongse, deputy governor for monetary stability.

In addition to facilitating more opportunities for offshore investment for individuals, the move will help them diversify investment risks, said Mr Mathee.

Regulatory bodies only allow institutional investors and high net worth investors to invest overseas through mutual fund services.

He said the central bank is also considering easing foreign currency deposit (FCD) conditions, covering deposit amount expansion, money transfer for FCD accounts, and allowing account opening for investors with no overseas financial transactions.

"The adjusted regulations will be implemented in phases from the beginning of next year and this could start with FCD account relaxation," said Mr Mathee.

"The regulatory adjustment is part of the central bank's capital movement strategy."

Separately, Titanun Mallikamas, assistant governor of the monetary policy group, said there has been an abundance of foreign capital movement across the world, attributed to aggressive monetary stimulus in several countries, affecting the baht's value and putting pressure on foreign exchange.

Thailand's current account surplus is expected to be lower, around 2.8% of GDP for this year and next, a significant decline from 7.3% on average logged between 2017 and 2018, he said.

The big drop in current account surplus comes from a steep contraction in foreign tourist arrivals and Thai shipments.

"With a lower current account surplus anticipated, this would reduce the pressure on baht appreciation, making it more likely to depreciate under such a scenario," said Mr Titanun.

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