Published on February 6, 2008
The committee met for the first time yesterday and resolved to establish a team to plan three to five years into the future and an emergency team, Pannee Sathawarodom, director-general of the ministry's Fiscal Policy Office, said.
Establishment of the committee was initiated by outgoing Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn as part of attempts by the authorities to slow down the strengthening of the currency.
Earlier this week, the ministry abolished restrictions on Thai individuals and corporations holding foreign-denominated currency derived from overseas investment. It also extended the foreign-currency holding period for exporters from 120 days to 360 days. Both measures aim to reduce pressure on the baht.
Last Friday, the baht broke through the Bt33-barrier to trade at about 32.90 to the dollar.
Since December 2006, the baht has appreciated by almost 10 per cent against the greenback. The stronger baht has become a hot issue because of Thailand's dependence on exports and the effects of the stronger currency on export prices.
The team to plan three to five years ahead will be led by Pannee herself. It will take responsibility for monitoring flows of funds to meet the demands of the country's economy, she said. It will also complete its first plan within five months.
Pannee said a Bank of Thailand deputy governor would chair the emergency team. This team has been established to prevent possible damage if there is an emergency need to use treasury reserves to defend the baht.
Yesterday's meeting was chaired by Finance Industry permanent secretary Suparat Kawatkul. In attendance were representatives of the central bank, Public Debt Management Office, National Economic and Social Development Board, Securities and Exchange Commission, Industry Ministry, Commerce Ministry and Board of Investment.