Integrity Legal

7th November 2010

Although this blog rarely discusses economic issues. When economics has an impact upon legal issues or matters pertaining to United States Immigration, then discussion of economic matters may be warranted. In recent months, the United States dollar has depreciated against many of the currencies of Asia, but there has yet to be significant movement in the Chinese Yuan which does not really “float” on the market as other currencies. As a result, economic tensions have increased between the United States of America, the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Kingdom of Thailand, and other Asian nations. Meanwhile, some of the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have seen their currencies rise significantly against the dollar. In a recent editorial posted on ThaiVisa.com, this issue was discussed in detail:

In any event, the dollar can only go south. The greenback slid to its lowest level in almost five months versus the euro. Gold, which represents a hedge against inflationary expectation, has also climbed to a record high on market anticipation that the Fed will flood the financial system with further liquidity to prop up the US economy.

This monetary easing will result in further weakening of the dollar. And as the US government continues to run a massive deficit, the Fed will be obliged to come to the rescue by purchasing the Treasuries that finance the deficit, which is not likely to come down in the foreseeable future due to economic weakness, falling tax revenue and spending obligations that have dramatically increased.

With the US weakness, a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and deflation in Japan, how will Thailand cope with the policy challenge? The first thing that comes to mind is that the baht will continue its upward trend. This is inevitable. The baht could go back to the pre-1997 crisis level of Bt25 to the dollar…

For those unaware, the United States Federal Reserve Bank recently announced that $600 billion in liquidity would be injected into the United States economy over the course of the coming months. As can be gathered from the above quotation, this “quantitative easing” policy is resulting in a depreciation of the dollar compared to Asian currencies (and other global currencies, but the focus of this post will remain on Asia, specifically Thailand). In an article written in The Nation Newspaper and distributed by ThaiVisa.com this issue was discussed in further detail:

When massive capital outflows from the US head towards Asia, much of it is unable to enter China so it floods other emerging markets, especially Asean countries, Korn [Chatikavanij, Finance Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand] said.

“We would like the two economic giants to settle their differences on the exchange-rate issue. I think they understand our predicament,” said Korn…
On the one hand, the US dollar has continued to depreciate, while on the other, China has not allowed the yuan to appreciate. Given the latest US announcement of quantitative easing aimed at stimulating the domestic US economy, several Asian currencies have significantly appreciated against the US dollar, raising concerns about the region’s export competitiveness…

The twin economic giants of China and America have yet to fully reach equilibrium in matters related to currency and trade, but an immediate issue for many Thai Nationals is the relative appreciation of the Thai Baht. There are many who feel that a strong Baht is not in their interests and depending upon circumstances they may be correct.  However, the recent currency fluctuations could prove to be a benefit to those Thai nationals interested in seeking American Immigrant Investor visa benefits.

The United States EB-5 visa (Immigrant Investor category) was designed to provide a travel document and lawful permanent residence to otherwise qualified foreign nationals who wish to make a substantial investment in legally eligible investment programs the United States of America. As the Thai baht has appreciated against the United States dollar it has become relatively “cheaper’ (in Baht terms) to meet some of the investment criteria in the United States. Therefore, as the dollar becomes weaker versus the Thai Baht it becomes less expensive, from a Baht standpoint, to invest in the USA. For those wishing to immigrate to the USA, the current Baht/Dollar exchange rate is something of a windfall.

This could be a boon to the United States economy as well since investment in the United States leads to the creation of new jobs. Furthermore, lawful immigration is one of the central components that drives the American economy. As more Thai nationals invest in the United States economy, the stronger that economy becomes thereby naturally fueling a recover in the overall American economy. As the American economy continues to recover, there may be ancillary benefits that accrue to individuals and businesses in the USA and around the globe. Hopefully this scenario will play out over the coming months and help to spur a recovery in the United States economy.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand or US Visa Thailand.


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