The Bank of Thailand insists it has not manipulated the baht to gain an advantage in exports amid speculation Thailand could be added to the US’s expanded watch list for currency manipulation.
The central bank regularly communicates with the US Treasury, telling it Thailand has not stepped into the foreign currency market to gain a trade advantage.
Yet the country may still be included on the watch list simply because it has a trade surplus with the US, said Chantavarn Sucharitakul, assistant governor for corporate strategy and relations at the Bank of Thailand. “Thailand has not intervened with the currency to gain a trade advantage with the US. We’re ready to have further discussions with the US,” said Ms Chantavarn.
Commerce Ministry data reports Thailand shipped products worth US$4.5 billion to the US, while importing $8.8 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $5.7 billion for the first quarter.
Southeast Asia’s second largest economy had a trade surplus of $5.1 billion with the US last year.
Her comment came after Bloomberg reported the US Treasury examined its 12 largest trade partners and Switzerland, and that the expanded watch list could include Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ireland or Malaysia, all of which have large trade surpluses with the US.
Treasury issues a report twice annually on foreign currencies. In the latest report, expected this month, the number of countries whose currency practices the US examines for possible manipulation will rise to about 20 from 12, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.