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Baht drops for 7th week as blast deepens stocks selloff
[BANGKOK] The baht competed its longest run of weekly declines since 2013 as a bomb blast in Bangkok added to Thailand's economic woes, intensifying outflows from equities.
Global funds sold a net US$410 million of Thai stocks this week through Thursday, the most since December, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That's contributed to the 3.3 per cent loss in the benchmark SET Index of shares since Aug 14. Hurt by weak local demand and falling exports, Thailand's economy is forecast to have among the slowest expansions in Southeast Asia in 2015.
The baht retreated 1.3 per cent this week and 0.1 per cent on Friday to 35.671 a dollar as of 4.11 pm in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency slid to 35.732 earlier, the weakest level since March 2009, and has declined 7.7 per cent this year. The SET Index lost 0.3 per cent to 1,367.91, heading for the lowest close since March 2014.
"The baht's outlook is bleak with all the negative news and fund outflows," said Win Udomrachtavanich, chief executive officer at One Asset Management Ltd. in Bangkok. The currency may fall to 36 versus the dollar this year, he said.
The explosion in Bangkok's central shopping district on Monday killed at least 20 people, including foreigners, raising the specter of renewed violence in a country that has seen years of unrest, culminating in the coup that deposed a government backed by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Junta leader Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who took charge after the military coup in May 2014, reshuffled his Cabinet this week as he struggles to revive the economy. Gross domestic product rose 2.8 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, slowing from 3 percent in the previous period.
Thailand's 10-year sovereign bonds gained for a third week, with the yield falling eight basis points to 2.66 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The three-year yield dropped four basis points from Aug 14 to 1.57 per cent.