The baht has climbed 11% this year as global funds bought 41.9 billion baht more of local shares than they sold. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is monitoring the baht movement closely and is studying additional measures to oversee the currency Thailand Business News
Domestic demand has also shown signs of life, but the severe weather, the withdrawal of consumption-based fiscal stimulus and political uncertainty should be a drag on growth. With a large fraction of the population still occupied in agriculture or working in rural areas, agriculture is a critical variable for the performance of household consumption.
Overall, domestic demand should provide a positive but limited contribution to growth: vulnerable households lost ground in 2009 and risks are substantial in 2010, as falling agricultural output due to the current drought may offset opportunities from the improved overall economic environment. Household consumption levels, which are highly correlated with the poverty rate, contracted in 2009 despite the rebound in the last quarter of the year, suggesting a likely increase in the poverty rate compared to 2008, especially when compounded by the loss in purchasing power from the food and fuel crisis of 2008. The outlook for 2010 is uncertain : average wages are likely to increase, thanks to the reallocation of labor from agriculture to manufacturing. Although labor markets appear very tight, with unemployment below 1 %, the data do not account for the large number of workers who moved to lower-productivity jobs in agriculture and informal services due to the crisis. Many of these workers are now returning to manufacturing, which offers higher wages than agriculture.
Pathom Yongvanich, a founding partner of PYI, says Asian markets have not only benefited from the inflow of international capital, but also from the growing sophistication of Asian investors themselves.
But another factor is likely the presence of larger, institutional investors in large-cap stocks who are more concerned about long-term performance than short-term market movements.