The baht, known to non-natives as tical until 1925, is the official currency of Thailand. In forex trading, the USD/THB spot price describes the number of baht that can be purchased for a single US dollar.
Much like the British pound, the baht was a unit of mass back when the country was on a silver standard. The legacy of this system survives in the Thai language, in which the general term for money - ngoen - translates literally to silver. At the time that the currency was divorced from the standard in 1902, one baht would have been worth 15 grams of the precious metal.
From around 1908 onwards, the baht was pegged to a string of other currencies. First, the Thai government established a fixed exchange rate with the pound before pegging the baht to the Japanese yen on a 1:1 ratio during World War II.
After the war, the baht entered another fixed exchange rate regime, this time with the US dollar. Between 1956 and 1973, the currency was pegged at 20.8 to the greenback, then 20 until 1978. It was again tied to the dollar at an exchange rate of 25:1 between 1984 and 1997, before the Asian economic crisis spurred policymakers to float the currency.
Thailand's economy, which is currently the largest in Southeast Asia outside of Indonesia, is export-dominated. Key products include gypsum (of which it is the world's second largest exporter), crops such as coconuts, corn, rubber and sugarcane, automobiles and automobile parts, textiles, and electronics. The country's most significant trade partners include China, North America, Japan and Europe.
Tourism makes a significant contribution to the Thai economy. Like the export market, this benefits from a softer Baht, but also suffers under conditions of geopolitical instability.
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