September 21, 2020

Thai central bank to allow gold trading in dollars soon

By Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon

BANGKOK, Sept 10 (Reuters)Thailand’s central bank will allow gold trading in U.S. dollars soon but it will not be mandatory, an assistant governor said on Thursday, as it tries to curb the impact of the precious metal on a stubbornly strong baht currency.

The revised rules should help reduce exchange rate volatility as domestic gold prices are linked to global gold prices XAU=, Vachira Arromdee told reporters.

“This is to provide more options for gold investors, such as for online trading,” she said.

The central bank has sent to the finance ministry adjusted rules on foreign currency deposit accounts to support gold trading in dollars, Vachira said.

The baht THB=TH strengthened by 0.3% to 31.29 per U.S. dollar at 0615 GMT, which exporters say is much stronger than the 33-34 baht rate that they need for shipments.

The central bank has said gold shipments add upward pressure on the baht.

Thai households have invested a lot in gold and typically sell it whenever gold prices go up, or during economic hardship. The gold sold would be exported.

In January-July, gold shipments jumped 107% from a year earlier with a share of 7.1% of overall exports, which fell 7.7% during that period.

On Aug. 28, central bank Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob told Reuters that rules on foreign currency deposits would be relaxed “to make sure that gold trading will not have an unnecessary impact on exchange rates”.

“The use of foreign currency deposits in gold trading in U.S. dollars is one example,” he said in the interview, adding Thais could also keep savings in foreign currency deposits.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitphong Thaichareon Editing by Martin Petty)

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