Korea fears push SET down 2.5%
- Published: 5/04/2013 at 05:00 PM
- Online news:
Thai stocks plunged 2.5% on Friday in response to investor concern about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and deaths from a new strain of bird flu in China.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index fell 38.93 points to close at 1,489.53, a decrease of 4.6% from the previous Friday's close of 1,561.06. Turnover was low at 49.85 billion baht with 11.48 billion shares changing hands.
As of Friday the local market was up 7% from the end of 2012.
Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 3.9 billion baht worth of Thai shares. Local institutions were net buyers of 1.19 billion baht and brokers were net sellers of 1.4 billion. Individual investors were net buyers of 4.11 billion baht.
Most world markets were down because of concerns about North Korea's increasingly warlike behaviour. However, Japan's benchmark stock index surged to a four-year high in response to the central bank's bold plan to combat deflation by doubling the money supply.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed 1.6% higher at 12,833.64, its highest finish since Sept 1, 2008. Earlier in the day it surged more than 3%, breaking the 13,000 level.
The benchmark has soared 25% this year, rejuvenated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's election in December and enthusiasm for his economic and monetary programme to jolt Japan out of its slump.
In early trading in Europe, markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris were all down slightly, and Wall Street appeared headed for a lower opening ahead of the release of the March US employment report.
Other markets in Asia outside of Japan sagged. Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2.7% to 21,726.90 on worries about bird flu and Korea. South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.6% to 1,927.23. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 4,891.40 as investors took profits after recent rallies.
In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 982.48 points, down 28.23 points, with total trade value of 26.4 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares fell 27.47 points to 1,217.55, with turnover of 11.6 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment shed 9.71 points to 459.11, with transaction value of 2.19 billion baht.
The five most active shares by value were PTT, down 5 baht to 325 baht; Bangkok Bank (BBL), down 4 baht to 227; Tipco Foods (TIPCO), down 90 satang to 13.70 baht; the petroleum distributor Siam United Services (SUSCO), down 55 satang to 6.20 baht; and the Skytrain operator BTS, down 5 satang to 9.00 baht.
In the currency markets, the baht edged up and bonds rose in response to the unprecedented monetary easing announced this week by the Bank of Japan, which will increase the amount of cash able to be invested in emerging markets.
Japan's central bank said on Thursday that it would double the monetary base by the end of 2014 through purchases of government debt.
Global investors pumped $9.6 billion into Thai government bonds in the first quarter, driving a 4.4% rally in the baht, which reached a 16-year high last month.
"With the BoJ's announcement of further easing, speculation grew for further fund inflows, supporting the baht," said Kozo Hasegawa, a foreign-exchange trader in Bangkok at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
However, concern was growing policymakers could intervene to limit gains in the baht if it strengthened further, he added.
The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 29.30/32 per dollar, compared with 29.32/35 on Thursday and 29.28/30 a week earlier.
The 5.8% decline in the US dollar value of exports in February was partly caused by exchange-rate strength, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said on Wednesday.
The baht may eventually reach 29 to the dollar, though good management could delay its appreciation to that level, Bank of Thailand deputy governor Pongpen Ruengvirayudh said on Friday.
The weak yen, which touched its lowest level since August 2009 on Friday, provides an opportunity to import capital goods and won't affect Thai exports because Thailand doesn't compete with Japan, she added.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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