Thai baht

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The baht (Thai: บาท, sign: ฿; code: THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang (สตางค์). The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.

Contents

History

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 eight fuang (เฟือง), each of eight ath (อัฐ). Other denominations in use were:

The decimal system devised by Prince Mahisorn, in which one 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 one baht = 0.6 Straits dollar and five baht = seven Indian rupees. Before 1880 the exchange rate was fixed at eight baht per pound sterling, falling to 10 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 = one British pound, the currency rose in value until, in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound was established of 13 baht = one pound. This was revised to 12 baht in 1919 and then, after a period of instability, to 11 baht in 1923. During World War II, the baht was fixed at a value of one Japanese yen.

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