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Thai baht information and exchange rates at

The Thai baht


The baht (Thai: บาท, symbol ฿,) is the official currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang (สตางค์), though today satang are seldom used. The issuance of all currency in Thailand is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.


A baht is also a unit of weight for gold and is commonly used in jewellers and goldsmiths in Thailand. 1 baht = 15.244 grams (15.244 grams is used for "raw" gold or bullion; in the case of jewellery, 1 baht should be more than 15.16 grams).


Thai baht exchange rates

Should you need to convert foreign currency into Thai baht, be careful. Thailand has what is known as a two-tiered foreign exchange policy; what the Bank of Thailand refers to as an off-shore rate and an on-shore rate. Thai baht exchanged outside Thailand and certain other transactions are subject to the off-shore rate which is, for example, currently just over 60 baht to the pound. Currency exchanged within Thailand, telex rates (TT) and certain other transactions are exchanged using the on-shore rate, which is considerably higher at between 64 to over 65 baht per pound. Quite a difference. That's why it's definitely best to exchange your currency after you get to Thailand or use credit cards, travellers' cheques or ATMs, which will give you the on-shore rate.


The history of the Thai baht


The currency was originally known as the tical, which was the currency name used in English text on banknotes until 1925. However, the name ‘baht’ was established as the Thai name by the late 19th century. Both tical and baht were originally units of weight, and coins were issued in both silver and gold denominated by their weight in baht along with its fractions and various multiples.

Until 1897, the baht was subdivided into 8 fuang (เฟือง), each of 8 ath (อัฐ). The present decimal system, in which 1 baht equals 100 satang, was introduced by His Majesty King Chulalongkorn in 1897. However, coins denominated in the old units were issued until 1910. One hangover from the pre-decimalization system: the 25 satang (¼ baht) is still colloquially called a salueng or salung (สลึง). It is occasionally used for amounts not exceeding 10 salueng or 2.50 baht. A 25-satang coin is also sometimes called salueng coin (เหรียญสลึง, pronounced 'rian salueng').


Until 1902, the tical was fixed on a purely silver basis, with exactly 15 grams of silver to the baht. This caused the value of the currency to vary relative to currencies on a gold standard. In 1857, the values of certain foreign silver coins were fixed in law, with the 1 baht = 0.6 Straits dollar and 5 baht = 7 Indian rupees. Before 1880 the exchange rate was fixed at eight baht per pound sterling (not too far from today’s rate, as it happens), falling to ten to the pound during the 1880s.

In 1902, the government began to increase the value of the baht by following all increases in the value of silver against gold but not reducing it when the silver price fell. Beginning at 21.75 baht equaling 1 British pound, the currency rose in value until in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound was established of 13 baht to 1 pound. This was revised to 12 baht in 1919 and then, after a period of instability, to 11 baht in 1923. During the Second World War, the Thai baht was fixed at a value of 1 Japanese yen.


thai bahtFrom 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht to 1 dollar and then at 20 baht to 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1985 until July 1997, when Thailand had to devalue the baht about 20% against the US dollar, as a result of intense pressure in the foreign exchange market. Currency speculators and Thai residents alike were trying to sell the baht and buy the US dollar, causing and worsening capital flight out of the country. The Thai government was running out of its foreign reserves and losing market confidence in maintaining the currency value and financial stability. In the process, interest rates increased substantially as the outflow of short-term capital intensified.


The previously inflated stock and real estate markets went on to collapse and led to Thailand's worst recession in the postwar period with sharply rising unemployment and business failures. The decision to devalue the baht affected other neighboring countries in the Southeast Asian region. The devaluation of the baht lowered the prices of Thai exports, pressuring other currencies to do the same. Indonesia's rupiah was particularly vulnerable, as it had to be devalued by about 90% over the period of just a few months. In similar nature to Thailand, interest rates were rising sharply, as capital flight from Indonesia was accelerating. The subsequent turmoil in the financial markets and the economy as a whole in Indonesia has been even more severe than that in Thailand, due to a complete collapse in both the financial and political system in that country. In consequence, former President Suharto had to resign as a first step towards the restoration of market confidence in the Indonesian government.


The Thai baht has since stabilized, and risen to about 33 per dollar.


Notes are issued for 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht.


Interest Rate Hikes: In 2005, Thailand's inflation rate reached a six-year high of 3.7 percent when the government of Thailand raised the price of diesel fuel by approximately 20% due to the surging prices of oil. The Central Bank of Thailand decided to take action as it raised its interest rates by a quarter-point to the highest interest rate since December of 2001.




Before 1860, Thailand did not produce coins using modern methods we’re familiar with now. Instead, a kind of ‘bullet’ coinage was used, consisting of bars of metal, thicker in the middle, bent round to form a complete circle on which identifying marks were stamped. Denominations issued included 1⁄128, 1⁄64, 1⁄32, 1⁄16, ⅛, ½, 1, 1½, 2, 2½, 4, 4½, 8, 10, 20, 40 and 80 baht in silver, and 1⁄32, 1⁄16, ⅛, ½, 1, 1½, 2 and 4 baht in gold. Between 1858 and 1860, foreign trade coins were also stamped by the government for use in Thailand. This system was obviously not destined to go on forever!


thai moneyIn 1860, coins in the more familiar sense of the word were introduced. These were silver 1 sik, 1 fuang, 1 and 2 salung, 1, 2 and 4 baht, with the baht weighing 15.244 grams and the others weight related. Tin 1 solot and 1 att followed in 1862, with gold 2½, 4 and 8 baht introduced in 1863 and copper 2 and 4 att in 1865. Copper replaced tin in the 1 solot and 1 att in 1874, with copper 4 att introduced in 1876. The last gold coins for general circulation were struck in 1895.

In 1897, the first coins denominated in satang were introduced, cupro-nickel 2½, 5, 10 and 20 satang. However, 1 solot, 1 and 2 att coins were struck until 1905 and 1 fuang coins were struck until 1910. In 1908, holed 1, 5 and 10 satang coins were introduced, with the 1 satang in bronze and the 5 and 10 satang in nickel. The 1 and 2 salung were replaced by 25 and 50 satang coins in 1915. In 1937, holed, bronze ½ satang were issued.


In 1941, a series of silver coins was introduced in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 satang, due to a shortage of nickel caused by WWII. The next year, tin coins were introduced for 1, 5 and 10 satang, followed by 20 satang in 1945 and 25 and 50 satang in 1946. In 1950, aluminium-bronze 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang were introduced whilst, in 1957, bronze 5 and 10 satang were issued, along with 1 baht coins struck in an unusual alloy of copper, nickel, silver and zinc.

Eagle-eyed coin collectors will notice that Thai coins were issued for many years without changing the date. These include the tin 1942 1 satang and the 1950 5 and 10 satang, struck until 1973, the tin 1946 25 satang struck until 1964, the tin 50 satang struck until 1957, and the aluminium bronze 1957 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang struck until the 1970s. Cupro-nickel 1 baht coins were introduced in 1962 and struck without date change until 1982.


In 1972, cupro-nickel 5 baht coins were introduced, switching to cupro-nickel-clad copper in 1977. Between 1986 and 1988, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of aluminium 1, 5 and 10 satang, aluminium-bronze 25 and 50 satang, cupro-nickel 1 baht, cupro-nickel-clad-copper 5 baht and bimetallic 10 baht. Cupro-nickel-clad-steel 2 baht were introduced in 2005.



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