The baht’s sharp appreciation is rippling through Thailand for foreign pensioners. The currency is the world’s top-performer against the dollar over five years, hurting export competitiveness and putting the economy on course for the weakest growth since 2014.

The Thai government issued almost 80,000 retirement visas last year, a climb of 30% from 2014. To qualify, foreigners must show a deposit of 800,000 baht ($26,261) in a Thai bank or have a monthly income of 65,000 baht. Another route is to have income and deposits totalling 800,000 baht combined.

Once best known for crashing and sparking the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the baht is today seen as a haven by global investors. A trade surplus and annual foreign tourism receipts exceeding $60 billion underpin its resilience. The currency has appreciated more than 6% against the dollar so far in 2019, the best performer in a basket of Asian economies.

At the same time, the cost of living in Thailand remains lower than in developed nations such as the U.S. or in Europe, and officials continue to promote it as a retirement destination. Baht strength leaves Pattaya retiree Maxey’s 1,000-pound ($1,235) pension far short of the minimum monthly requirement. As a result, he maintains the equivalent of a 22,000-pound deposit to satisfy the bank savings rule when renewing his visa.