The Thai baht, usually just called the baht, is the official currency of the Kingdom of Thailand. In Thai, the currency is written as บาท, which also means money, and one baht is divided into 100 satangs, สตางค์.
The baht has been the 10th most frequently used method of payment in the world for a few years because of the huge tourism that Thailand experiences every year. It is also the 24th most traded currency on the international foreign exchange market, taking the spot just before Malaysian Ringgit and after the New Taiwan dollar.
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Abbreviations of the Thai Baht
Just like the British pound sterling, the Thai baht originates from a weight unit. 1 baht used to represent 15 grams of silver.
Due to its short one-syllable name, it lacks any real abbreviations in both Thai and Western writing. It does, however, have its own currency sign just like the American dollar ($) and the euro (€). The currency sign for Thai Baht is ฿ but satang is normally just shortened with an s.
The official ISO-4217 code and the abbreviation used on the forex market for the Thai baht is THB.
Denominations of the Thai Baht
Thailand’s central bank is famous for releasing many commemorative banknotes. Actually, more than 25 unique bill designs have been produced since the 1960s. They are all related to events within the royal family such as the king and queen’s birthdays and anniversaries. The latest commemorative bills were released earlier this year. The series was a complete series including all the bills between 20 to 1,000 baht in honor of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej that passed away last year.
The Thai baht is currently in its 16th complete series of banknotes, and they were released between 2013 and 2015. However, the coins have been minted in different versions since 1987. There are currently 14 denominations in Thailand, 9 coins, and 5 bills.
At the time of writing the following denominations are in circulation.
All of the coins have the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the obverse side. On the reverse side, famous Thai temples are depicted, such as the Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.
Just like the coins, the bills all have King Bhumibol Adulyadej printed on the obverse side. The reverse side has former Kings of Thailand as well as important Thai temples and monuments depicted on them.
There has been a discussion about whether or not new denominations will be introduced in the country since the last King died last year. However, King Bhumibol was considered to be a God-like figure and he is much more liked than his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Therefore, it is expected that a change of denominations will be postponed.
History of the Thai Baht
The use of coins and banknotes as a form of payment can be traced back to several decades B.C. in the Funan Kingdom. Since then the Malaysian Peninsula and the region where modern-day Thailand is located has been a part of important trading routes for many nations. Therefore, many different currencies have been used and introduced in the area.
In the year 1860, the ruling King Mongkut (Rama IV) introduced the first decimal-based currency in Thailand, and that currency is considered the base of the modern baht. King Mongkut was the first King of Thailand to introduce Western ideas and a more modern civilization. He is considered by many to be the founding father of modern Thailand.
Thai bath Today
Today the Thai baht is issued by the Bank of Thailand and is minted by the Royal Thai Mint. As we mentioned, it is the official currency in Thailand. But due to its influence in the region, it is also unofficially used in neighboring Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar, as well as in Vietnam.
According to a report from Swift in 2014, the THB was the 10th most used currency in the world. This is mostly due to the high number of tourists that travel to the country every year, but also due to the bahts strong position on the Asian market.
In fact, the THB is one of the strongest currencies in Southern Asia and you rarely see it fluctuate much.
In December 2006, the Bank of Thailand implemented a series of unplanned, and quite spontaneous, controls on the currency’s exchange rate. It was done in order to strengthen the currency but instead, it created a situation where the offshore and onshore price for the Thai baht grew apart. It quickly reached a level where there was a 10% difference in price which eventually forced the bank to withdraw the controls. Today, the price has gone back to normal and there is no longer any difference between the onshore and offshore Thai baht rate.
Trade with Thai bath
Although the Thai baht has a relatively strong and influential role on the international market, the interest in investing in it is not so high. During 2016 the THB ended up being the 24th most traded currency in the world. Plus500 and IQ Option are two great platforms for trading.
The reason why the currency isn’t traded more often is because other big Asian currencies use up a lot of the market space. For example, it is much more popular to trade the Chinese yuan (CNY), Japanese yen (JPY), and the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). These Asian currencies also happen to be the currencies that the THB is often traded with.
Just like with any other currency, the Thai baht is frequently bought and sold together with the American dollar (USD).