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What is the Thai baht (THB)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Thailand a Baa1 rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a BBB rating. Finally, S&P last issued a BBB+ rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

Central Bank Rate

The current central bank interest rate is 3.00%. This is the same as 2011, which was 3.25%.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $318,522,264,428 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $4,608. It grew by 7.81% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2009 is 1.20%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 115.54.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and the head of state is King Bhumibol Adulyadej (in a ceremonial role).

Currency Details

The Thai baht was introduced in 1897 by the ruling King at the time, King Chulalongkorn. For the time period between World War II and 1980, the Baht was fixed to the US Dollar at an exchange rate of 1$ = 20 baht. It proceeded to slowly decrease in value, and was again pegged to an exchange rate of 25:1 from 1985 until July 2, 1997 when the Asian financial crisis took its toll on Thailand. The Asian financial crisis, also known as the Asian currency crisis, started in July 1997 in Thailand, and affected currencies, stock markets, and other asset prices of several Asian countries, many part of the East Asian Tigers. Triggered by events in Latin America, Western investors lost confidence in securities in East Asia and began to pull money out, creating a snowball effect. Thailand, namely, was one of the nations most profoundly affected by the crisis. Following the crisis, it was decided that the baht be placed on a floating exchange rate which halved its value, to its lowest rate of 56:1 in January 1998. It stabilized again at a rate of about 40:1, which it has managed to stay at since then.

Moody’s Rating
Baa1, 26 Nov 2003
S&P Rating
A

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

The king’s power under the constitution is limited. Outside of the constitution, however, the king is the anointed protector of Thai Buddhism and a symbol of national identity and unity. The present monarch is given a great deal of popular respect and moral authority, which he has been put to good use in situations involving political crises. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the king from among members of the lower house of parliament, typically the leader of the party that has the capability of organizing a majority coalition government. The bicameral Thai parliament is the National Assembly which consists of a House of Representatives of 500 seats and a Senate of 200 seats. Members of both houses are elected by popular vote elections. Members of House of Representatives serve four-year terms and Senators serve six-year terms. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the king. Thailand is an active member of the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The ruling party in Thailand is the Democratic party.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946) Head of Government Prime Minister ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva (since 17 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SANAN Kachornprasat, also spelled SANAN Kachornparsart (since 7 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SUTHEP Thueaksuban, also spelled SUTHEP Thaugsuban (since 22 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister TRAIRONG Suwannakhiri (since 18 January 2010) Cabinet Council of Ministers note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king Elections the monarch is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, the prime minister is elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by appointment by the king; the prime minister is limited to two four-year terms

Key Economic Factors

Gross Domestic Product:

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the measure of total production and consumption of goods and services in Thailand providing a strong gauge of economic activity and productivity growth. It is important to look for changes in real GDP growth in the nations primary industries: household consumption, government expenditures, business investment, and export levels.

Foreign Trade:

The balance of trade is this difference between exports and imports of foreign trade in goods and services. This is important because the size of the imbalance gives insight into the state of Thai exports. A general weakness in Thailand’s overall economy can be signified by weak imports. Also, when there are changes in the trade balance with specific countries, this has direct affects on foreign exchange and foreign policy with those countries.

Monetary Policy:

The Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets to determine the appropriate level of the 14-day repurchase rate, its target variable. Its main goals are to maintain price stability and keep inflation between 0 and 3.5% per year. The repurchase rate also helps financial institutions determine where short-term interest rates should be. This all can affect buying and saving behavior of businesses and consumers, which has an impact on economic growth.

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