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UPDATE 1-Thai central bank has FX buffers to handle volatility -governor
January 10, 2017 / 12:55 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Thai central bank has FX buffers to handle volatility -governor

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By Marc Jones and John Geddie

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Thailand has enough foreign exchange reserves to handle market volatility if it flares up again this year, the head of the country’s central bank said on Tuesday and called for more global monetary policy coordination.

Emerging market currencies in Asia are being buffeted by a parallel rise in the dollar and a fall in China’s yuan, but Veerathai Santiprabhob said Thailand had the ammunition to cope with any stress.

“We have built good buffers to protect us from financial instability,” Santiprabhob said at an event hosted by policy think-tank OMFIF.

The central bank does not expect flooding in the south of Thailand to have to same impact as floods in 2011 that hit its industrial central region but is currently assessing what impact there could be on the rubber and fishing industries.

The Bank of Thailand voted unanimously last month to keep the country’s main interest rate at 1.50 percent, where it has been since April 2015. It currently expects the economy to grow 3.2 percent this year.

Santiprabhob said the central bank stands ready to act as necessary.

One concern, he said, is a wave of potentially “bad inflation” - that pushes up costs but does little for growth - which could come if President-elect Donald Trump moves to stimulate an already-healthy U.S. economy.

However more broadly for emerging markets, he said bets on higher U.S. interest rates did not seem to be causing a repeat of the 2013 ‘Taper Tantrum’.

“The main challenges (for Thai economy) are micro not macro in nature,” he added. (Editing by Catherine Evans)

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