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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Once Asia’s top performer, the Thai baht is now becoming the region’s worst-hit currency

  • The "uncharacteristic under-performance in the Thai Baht, rendering it the worst performer to date in 2021," Mizuho Bank said in a note on Friday.
  • Thailand had only over 34,000 tourist arrivals as of May this year, compared with over 39 million in 2019.
  • It's going to be "very challenging" for Thailand to reopen up to tourists while still battling the Covid pandemic, said Nomura's Chief Asean Economist Euben Paracuelles.

Thai Baht banknotes and coins.Artur Widak l NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Thai baht, once the strongest-performing currency in Asia before the pandemic, has been steadily falling in 2021 and is this year's worst-hit currency in the region, according to Mizuho Bank.

The Japanese bank pointed to "uncharacteristic under-performance in the Thai Baht, rendering it the worst performer to date in 2021" in a note on Friday.

The Thai baht has plunged more than 10% against the U.S. dollar year-to-date, as of Monday morning, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Thailand's currency is the weakest-performing this year compared to other major Asia Pacific currencies, according to Refinitiv. Against the greenback, the Japanese yen is nearly 7% lower, the Malaysian ringgit declined by 5%, while the Australian dollar is down 4.43% year-to-date.

"At face value, THB as the unequivocal and significant laggard does not square with Thailand's solid (albeit diminished) current account surplus or relatively low inflation," wrote Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at the bank.

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