The Thai baht (THB) is the official currency of Thailand. It is issued and controlled by the Bank of Thailand, the country’s central bank. The baht was introduced in 1928, replacing the Thai tical. Since then, it has played an important role in Thailand’s economy and global trade. This article takes an in-depth look at the history, value, exchange rates, and future outlook of the Thai baht.

A Brief History of the Thai Baht

The use of money in Thailand dates back centuries, with various coins and forms of currency used in the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms. Cowrie shells, silver and gold bullion, and pod duang were among the early forms of money.

The first Thai coins were introduced by King Chulalongkorn in 1897, known as the Thai tical. Over the next few decades, the tical fluctuated in value and became largely interchangeable with the Straits dollar.

By 1928, Thailand had established the Royal Thai Mint and began issuing its own paper money – the Thai baht. The baht was originally pegged to the British sterling at a rate of 13 baht = 1 pound. After World War II, the baht was pegged to the US dollar for stability.

The baht maintained a fixed exchange rate of 20.8 baht to the dollar until the Asian financial crisis of 1997. After a massive devaluation to over 50 baht per dollar, Thailand moved to a managed float system, giving the baht more flexibility based on market forces.

Value and Denominations of the Thai Baht

The standard unit of the Thai baht is divided into 100 satang, similar to cents. It is typically represented by the symbol ฿ or THB.


The following banknotes are the current paper currency in circulation:

  • 20 baht – blue
  • 50 baht – pink
  • 100 baht – red
  • 500 baht – purple
  • 1000 baht – brown

The Bank of Thailand occasionally issues commemorative banknotes for special events or anniversaries. All banknotes have King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s portrait. New Series 16 banknotes issued in 2018 feature King Maha Vajiralongkorn.


Coins of the following denominations are in circulation:

  • 25 and 50 satang
  • 1, 2, 5, and 10 baht

The 1, 5, and 10 baht are colored coins. Satang coins below 1 baht are rarely used nowadays due to their low value.

THB Exchange Rates

The Thai baht exchange rate is determined on the foreign exchange market based on supply and demand relative to other currencies. It generally trades in a narrow range aligned with Thailand’s stable inflation rate.

Interbank Rate

In the interbank forex market, large banks trade currency directly between each other at live exchange rates. These real-time THB forex rates fluctuate constantly throughout the day.

The Bank of Thailand monitors interbank rates to ensure orderly conditions and prevent excessive volatility. It does not actively intervene or influence the rate.

Commercial Exchange Rates

Banks, money changers, airports, hotels, and other commercial providers convert THB at retail exchange rates for customers. These include a markup on top of wholesale interbank rates to account for a profit margin.

Consumers can check sites like for current retail exchange rates for baht to USD, EUR, GBP, and other currencies. Rates may vary by provider.

Official Fixed Rate

The Bank of Thailand calculates the THB rate against the USD each day based on wholesale markets. It uses this fixed rate for accounting, official reporting, and currency conversion requirements.

As of 1 January 2023, the official fixed rate is 34.59 THB per 1 USD. This rate is typically used by government agencies and for customs valuation.

Outlook and Forecast for the Thai Baht

Analysts look at various economic and political factors to forecast the future direction of the Thai baht against the US dollar and other currencies.

Interest Rates

Thailand’s benchmark interest rate is a key driver of baht valuation. Higher rates mean higher yields on THB assets, boosting demand for the currency. Lower rates have the opposite effect.

As of August 2023, the Bank of Thailand’s policy rate stands at 0.50%. Further rate hikes are expected to curb inflation pressures. This may lead to baht appreciation.

Economic Growth

Thailand’s GDP growth is projected around 3-4% in 2023. Strong economic expansion increases foreign capital inflows and supports currency demand. Slower growth could weigh on the baht.

Political Climate

Political stability supports currency strength by driving investment flows. Recent protests, coup rumors, and policy concerns have clouded Thailand’s outlook. Greater political certainty would favor the baht.

Trade Flows

With high dependence on exports, Thailand’s trade surplus trends impact the baht’s attractiveness. More inbound investment and exports means higher demand for baht to make payments.

Regional Factors

Developments in China, ASEAN, and Asia influence investment patterns and relative currency movements against the baht. Contagion risks from financial troubles in the region could lead to baht depreciation.

Using and Trading the Thai Baht

For those traveling, investing, or doing business in Thailand, an understanding of baht pricing conventions and trading strategies is helpful.

Cash and Currency Exchange

The baht is divided into 100 satang. When written out, amounts are specified in baht and satang, like 1,299 baht and 50 satang. Speakers usually just state the baht amount.

US dollars and other major currencies can easily be exchanged for Thai baht at Bangkok airport, banks, hotels, and exchange booths across the country.

Bargaining and Payments

Thai markets and many shops expect customers to bargain on prices offered. Paying in cash is most common, but credit cards are accepted in cities.

Tipping is not required but appreciated; 10% is typical for good restaurant service. Keep smaller baht notes handy for transactions like taxis or food stalls.

Forex Trading of THB

Those looking to speculate or hedge can trade THB against the US dollar and other currencies on forex platforms. Safe practices include using stop losses, avoiding high leverage, and monitoring economic releases.

Technical analysis of price charts and sentiment indicators can identify trading opportunities. But Southeast Asia currency volatility warrants caution.

Foreign Investment and Regulations

Foreign direct and portfolio investment in Thailand requires exchange of base currency into baht. Repatriation of profits, dividends, and capital is allowed but regulated.

Investors should consult authorized financial institutions to ensure compliance with all Bank of Thailand rules and reporting requirements.

Challenges and Controversies

While relatively stable, the baht has faced some controversies and fluctuations over the decades.

Strong Baht Concerns

The baht has at times strengthened more than desired against the US dollar, driven by exports and foreign investment. This makes Thai goods more expensive for trade partners.

Export-focused industries have lobbied for measures to dampen currency appreciation, like capital controls. But central bank intervention risks currency war escalation.

Volatility and Intervention

The baht came under severe speculative attack during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, forcing abandonment of the dollar peg. It lost half its value and has floated more flexibly since.

Some accuse the Bank of Thailand of occasionally intervening to influence exchange rates, but it officially maintains a hands-off policy.

Digital Currency Exploration

Seeking to modernize financial infrastructure, the central bank is studying a potential digital baht. But technological hurdles, adoption challenges, and design decisions have slowed progress.

A digital baht could impact monetary policy and currency demand flows. The bank is proceeding cautiously regarding rollout.


In its nearly 100 years of existence, the Thai baht has seen periods of volatility but demonstrated resilience overall. Thailand’s continued economic development and integration into global trade point to a stable future role for the baht.

Its valuation will shift gradually in line with inflation, interest rates, regional growth, and currency market fluctuations. With sound fiscal policies and reforms, the baht can support Thailand’s prosperity for decades to come.

For travelers, investors, and companies interacting with Thailand, staying up to date on exchange rate movements and baht trading conventions will ensure transactions proceed smoothly. Overall, the baht remains a key pillar of Thailand’s financial system.