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Sell Baht Now: Credit Suisse

Source: Bangkok Post

Investors who have overseas exposure should take advantage of the baht, which is close to this year’s highest level, by swapping the local currency for the US dollar, says Credit Suisse Thailand.

The baht forecast is based on an assumption the US Federal Reserve’s next rate hike is just around the corner, said Pornchai Prasertsintanah, managing director of Credit Suisse Thailand.

Credit Suisse forecasts the Fed will raise its policy rate twice more this year.

The baht is among the best-performing currencies in Southeast Asia this year, up 3.5% year-to-date. It hit a 21-month high at 34.19 to the dollar on April 17, and was quoted at 34.52 yesterday.

He said Thailand’s economic growth is still in line with the market’s consensus, with exports and state spending the driving forces. Given tepid private investment, the local interest rate is expected to remain at low levels this year to accommodate an economic recovery.

Credit Suisse launched a digital wealth management platform yesterday for Thai clients, following a similar roll-out in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The platform allows its wealth management clients round-the-clock access to comprehensive information about their accounts, market insight and intelligence. The service offers trading on over 30 bourses via iPads, iPhones, devices using Google Android.

Benjamin Cavalli, Credit Suisse’s head of private banking in Southeast Asia, said its clients using the app last year increased by six-fold. They logged in more than eight times a month on average, spending over 10 minutes per session.

The volume of equity transactions placed by clients via the digital platform have increased by over eight times, he said.

According to its survey, 82% of high net worth individuals in Asia-Pacific expect their wealth management relationship to be conducted entirely or mostly through the digital channel, while 83% of them said they are far more likely to leave wealth management firms that cannot offer an integrated digital and direct channel experience.

Credit Suisse said Thailand is among the fastest growing markets for wealth management assets in Asia-Pacific.