UOBAM catches up with US recovery

UOB Asset Management (UOBAM) has launched four funds investing in Thai and global equities, global bonds and gold in anticipation of the US economic recovery and Asia's steady growth.

The funds are the UOB Dividend Focus Equity Fund, UOB Smart Global Bond Fund (ex-Japan), UOB Smart Asia Consumer Fund and UOB Smart Gold Fund-H.

CEO Vana Bulbon said world stock markets have continued rallying since early this year. Investors are confident the US economy will recover this year after its leading companies showed strong performances and financial positions.

However, weak financial positions of some government agencies and SME taxation issues are concerns.

Meanwhile, Europe is expected to remain mired in a recession for a second year. Greece and Spain still have a high unemployment rate of 25%, while Cyprus's bankruptcy and deposit runs would spread to other countries. But Asian economies remain solid, as healthy domestic consumption could offset export slowdown stemming from weak demand from the West

China's economy will also rebound, but the concern is that rising property prices would pressure Beijing to launch measures to avert a bubble.

Despite the 7.5% plunge in the Stock Exchange of Thailand index two weeks ago, stocks could continue their rally, bolstered by short- and medium-term positive factors, Mr Vana said.

The SET index soared to 1,600 points last month from 1,270 last November. It closed at 1,550.54, up by 0.06% in thin trade of 47.8 billion baht.

Should the bill allowing the government to borrow 2 trillion baht to finance infrastructure projects over seven years be passed, the SET will get a boost in the short run, said Mr Vana.

Positive factors for the medium term are strong economic growth, listed firms' bright performance outlook, high trading liquidity and manageable inflation.

For fixed-income investment, the bond market remains volatile, especially for short-term bonds as funds continue to flow in to speculate on the baht. UOBAM expects the policy interest rate to be steady in the first half before inching up in the second half.

About the author

Writer: Nuntawun Polkuamdee
Position: Business Reporter