| Thai baht |
|ISO 4217 Code||THB|
|Source||The World Factbook, 2006 est.|
|Freq. used||25, 50 satang, ฿1, ฿2, ฿5, ฿10 baht|
|Rarely used||1, 5, 10 satang|
|Freq. used||฿20, ฿50, ฿100, ฿500, ฿1000|
|Central bank||Bank of Thailand|
|Mint||The Royal Thai Mint|
The currency was originally known as the tical; this name was used in the English language text on banknotes until 1925. However, the name baht was established as the Thai name by the 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 and its fractions and multiples.
Until 1897, the baht was subdivided into 8 fuang (เฟือง), each of 8 ath (อัฐ). Other denominations in use were:
|Denomination||Thai||Value ||Alternate meaning|
|bia||เบี้ย||1⁄6400 Baht||cowrie; a very small amount of money; a counter used in gambling|
|solot||โสฬส or โสฬศ||1⁄128 Baht|
|att or ath||อัฐ||1⁄64 Baht|
|sio or py||เสี้ยว เซี่ยว or ไพ||1⁄32 Baht||a quarter (feuang)|
|sik||ซีก or สิ้ก||1⁄16 Baht||a section; a half (feuang)|
|salung||สลึง||1⁄4 Baht||a quarter (baht)|
|mayon||มายน or มะยง||1⁄2 Baht|
|baht||บาท||1 Baht||1 tical, from Portuguese, from Malay tikal |
|tamleung (of silver)||ตำลึง (หน่วยเงิน)||4 baht||a gourd; weight of silver equal to four baht, or ~60 grams|
|chang||ชั่ง||20 tamleung or 80 baht||a catty ~1200 gram weight of silver; as a metric unit of weight, chang luang ชั่งหลวง = 600 grams|
|hap||หาบ||80 chang or 6400 baht||~96 kg of silver, roughly equivalent to the monetary talent; from the verb/noun (carry) a load (suspended at each end of a pole across the shoulder); as a metric unit of weight, hap luang หาบหลวง = ุ60 kg |
The decimal system devised by Prince Mahisorn, in which 1 baht = 100 satang, was introduced by 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 November 27, 1902, the tical was fixed on a purely silver basis, with 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, 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 = 1 British pound, the currency rose in value until, in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound was established of 13 baht = 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 baht was fixed at a value of 1 Japanese yen.
From 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht = 1 dollar and at 20 baht = 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1984 until July 2, 1997, when the country was stung by the Asian financial crisis. The baht was floated and halved in value, reaching its lowest rate of 56 to the dollar in January 1998. It has since risen to about 34 per dollar.
Before 1860, Thailand did not produce coins using modern methods. Instead, a so-called "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, 1⁄8, ½, 1, 1½, 2, 2½, 4, 4½, 8, 10, 20, 40, and 80 baht in silver and 1⁄32, 1⁄16, 1⁄8, 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.
In 1860, modern style coins 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 were struck in 1895.
In 1897, the first coins denominated in satang were introduced, cupronickel 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. It should be notes that several 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. Cupronickel 1 baht coins were introduced in 1962 and struck without date change until 1982.
In 1972, cupronickel 5 baht coins were introduced, switching to cupronickel-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, cupronickel 1 baht, cupronickel-clad-copper 5 baht and bimetallic 10 baht. Cupronickel-clad-steel 2 baht were introduced in 2005.
In 2008, the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Thai Mint announced the 2009 coin series, which included changes in materials to reduce production costs as well as an update of the image on the obverse to a more recent portrait of the King. The two-baht coin, confusingly similar in color and size to the one-baht coin, was changed from nickel-clad low-carbon steel to aluminium bronze. New two-baht coin was the first of the new series released on February 3, 2009. Followed by satang coin in April, five-baht coin in May, ten-baht coin in June. And new one-baht coin will be released in September 2009.
|Circulating Coins (2009 series)   (Thai)|
|Image||Value||Technical parameters||Description||Date of first minting|
|1 satang 1||15 mm||0.5 g||99% Aluminium||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Haripunchai Temple, Lamphun||1987|
|5 satang 1||16.5 mm||0.6 g||Phra Patom Temple, Nakhon Pathom||1987|
|10 satang 1||17.5 mm||0.8 g||Phrathat Chungchum Temple, Sakon Nakhon||1987|
|25 satang||16 mm||1.9 g||Copper-plated steel||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Mahathat Temple, Nakhon Si Thammarat||1987|
|50 satang||18 mm||2.4 g||Doi Suthep Temple, Chiang Mai||1987|
|1 baht||20 mm||3 g||Nickel-plated steel||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Phra Kaew Temple, Bangkok||1986|
|2 baht||21.75 mm||4 g||Aluminium bronze||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Saket Temple, Bangkok||2005|
|5 baht||24 mm||6 g||Cupronickel clad copper||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Benchamabophit Temple, Bangkok||1988|
|10 baht||26 mm||8.5 g||Ring: Cupronickel|
Center: Aluminium bronze
|H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||Arun Temple, Bangkok||1988|
|These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.|
In 1851, the government issued notes for ⅛, ¼, ⅜, ½ and 1 tical, followed by 3, 4, 6 and 10 tamlung in 1853. After 1857, notes for 20 and 40 ticals were issued, also bearing their values in Straits dollars and Indian rupees. Undated notes were also issued before 1868 for 5, 7, 8, 12 and 15 tamlung, and 1 chang. 1 att notes were issued in 1874.
In 1892, the Treasury issued notes for 1, 5, 10, 40, 80, 100, 400 and 800 ticals, called baht in the Thai text. On September 19, 1902, the government introduced notes for 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 ticals, with 1 and 50 tical notes following in 1918. In 1925, notes were issued with the denomination baht used in the English text, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 baht.
In 1942, the Bank of Thailand was founded and took over responsibility for the issuance of paper money. 50 baht notes were briefly reintroduced in 1945, with 50 satang notes issued in 1946. The 1 baht note was replaced by a coin in 1957 and the 5 baht was replaced in 1972. 50 baht notes were again reintroduced in 1985, with the 10 baht note replaced by a coin in 1988.
|Currently Circulating Banknotes |
|Image||Value||Dimensions||Main Colour||Description||Date of issue|
|20 baht||138 × 72 mm||Green||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the uniform of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces||H.M. King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII)||3 March 2003|
|50 baht||144 × 72 mm||Blue||H.M. King Mongkut (Rama IV)||1 October 2004|
|100 baht||150 × 72 mm||Red||H.M. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)||21 October 2005|
|500 baht||156 × 72 mm||Purple||H.M. King Nangklao (Rama III)||1 August 2001|
|1000 baht||162 × 72 mm||Gray||H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej||25 November 2005|
|These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.|
It is considered rude to put baht banknotes in a wallet that sits in the back pocket, as this allows someone to sit on the image of the king, which is considered highly disrespectful. Similarly, stepping on a baht banknote (or coin) is considered disrespectful. Some shops in Thailand, especially in rural areas, display low-denomination banknotes in front of the shop, both as a charm for wealth and out of respect for the king.
In addition to the banknotes currently in circulation (above) numerous commemorative notes have been issued:
The baht is also a unit of weight for gold, commonly used by jewellers and goldsmiths in Thailand. One baht = 15.244 grams. Since the standard purity of Thai gold is 96.5%, the actual gold content in one baht is 15.244 × 0.965 = 14.71046 grams, or about 0.4729523 troy ounce. 15.244 grams is used for "raw" gold or bullion; in the case of jewellery, 1 baht should be more than 15.16 grams.
There was no significant difference between offshore rate and onshore rates until they were introduced by Reserve Requirement on Short-Term Capital Inflows on December 19, 2006. Since then, the divergence has become marked, with the smaller offshore rates being up to 10% or more higher than large turnover onshore rate. It seems that ATM withdrawals get the onshore rate.
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