by Surasak Tumcharoen
BANGKOK, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra suggested on Wednesday the current strengthening of the baht against the U.S. dollar should not be cause for concerns to the Thai public while her government is taking steps to assure the country's private-owned businesses will be "minimally affected."
The lady prime minister made her comments in the wake of the remarkable surge in the Thai currency to 29.38 baht per one U.S. dollar and reassured that Thai private firms, especially those in the export sector and the so-called Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises, will be "minimally affected" by the continual strengthening of the baht.
"The government will see to it that the private sector, particulary the SMEs, will be minimally affected. As a matter of fact, they have not as yet been seriously affected. Consultations will be held between the authorities and members of the export sector to handle the baht's strength," said the prime minister without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Yingluck said she had instructed Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat na Ranong, the Bank of Thailand 's governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul and the National Economic & Social Development Board's secretary general Arkom Termpitayapaisit to closely monitor the international money markets, which might possibly affect the movement of the Thai currency.
"Those in the export sector, apparently fearful of the possibilities of the Thai currency's strength causing a drop in the value of their export goods, we are advised to never be panic while the authorities will shortly hold a meeting with their representatives to prepare to cope with future fluctuations of the baht," said Yingluck.
She added that the government is encouraging and promoting varied Thai-owned businesses to invest in neighboring ASEAN countries, such as Myanmar, apart from the export-bound manufacturing of Thai products to the world markets.