Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia promote local currency use for trade, business

BANGKOK, Dec 23 (Reuters) - The central banks of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed on Friday to promote use of their currencies for trade and investment among the three nations, the latest move by emerging economies to reduce exposure to volatile global markets.

The Bank of Thailand and Bank Negara Malaysia each signed a memorandum of understanding with Bank Indonesia on a “framework of cooperation” to promote settlement of bilateral trade and direct investment in their local currencies.

“The enabling environment will benefit businesses by reducing transaction costs and enhancing efficiency of trade and investment settlements,” the three central banks said in a statement.

“Amidst the current volatile global financial market conditions, this will offer businesses more options in choosing currencies for trade settlement,” it said.

The banks said the agreements will pave the way for wider usage of local currencies in the ASEAN Economic Community and spur development of regional foreign exchange and money markets, supporting wider economic and financial integration.

The Thai and Malaysian central banks this year implemented a similar arrangement they signed in August 2015.

Many emerging economies face increasingly volatile financial markets and rising trade protectionism as well as capital outflows in the wake of rising U.S. interest rates. (Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Richard Borsuk)