Bank of Thailand looking at ways to ease Baht volatility
The baht, which was the best-performing Asian currency with an almost 9 percent gain against the US dollar in 2019, climbed above the 30-mark in pre-New Year trade before falling nearly 1.8 percent to below 30 baht to the dollar on speculation that the Bank of Thailand had intervened. Thailand’s foreign currency reserves and current-account surplus are key factors luring investors to the baht. Foreign reserves are at $US222 billion, while the current-account surplus was $US3.38 billion in November 2019. The currency fell to 30.15 against the dollar on Friday. The Bank of Thailand has already cut the policy rate in a bid to curb the baht’s climb and plan to form two committees to present to the cabinet for approval; an advisory committee for financial stability policy and a monetary committee for development
Starting from the 1st of January more than 90 giant retailers, department stores and supermarkets stopped handing out all types of single-use plastic bags to their customers after reaching an agreement with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to reduce plastic waste. According to the Minister, about 30 percent of plastic waste came from shopping malls and convenience stores, while fresh markets accounted for 40 percent of plastic usage. The campaign aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by 50 percent this year.