The Thai stock market reached another milestone in the first quarter of this year, with average daily trade value of 60 billion baht, leading Asean markets and double last year's level.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)'s average daily trading value was 20-25% higher than the level at second-ranked Singapore Stock Exchange in the first three months of this year.
Trading by all four investor types _ local institutions, brokers, foreign investors and local individuals _ rose during the period.
Leading the pack in terms of trading value increases were local individuals.
The number of new trading accounts surged by 37,000 from early this year to 850,000 now, according to SET president Charamporn Jotikasthira.
Of the 850,000 individual accounts, 280,000 were active, up by 60,000 from last year.
Share in total trade by the four groups indicated a major shift, with individuals the only group showing an increase.
Local institutions saw its share in total trade unchanged at 8% during the period, brokers down to 10% from 13%, foreign investors down to 19% from 25% and individuals up to 63% from 53%.
Mr Charamporn said the SET will revise its second-half business plan to accommodate the heavy trading as the daily trading in the first quarter far exceeded the previous annual projection of 32 billion baht.
The initial public offering target of 120 billion baht is likely to be reached in the first half of the year.
"The Thai share market is now on foreign investors' radar, since the bourse was upgraded to an advanced emerging market last year. Thirty-three companies also meet global institutions' investment standards, compared with SGX's 25 stocks, and trading liquidity has significantly increased," he said.
Mr Charamporn said until last week Thai shares had risen sharply to levels that investors were afraid of corrections, making them very sensitive to news.
But the corrections offer a good opportunity to buy good stocks at reasonable prices, he said, adding the market fundamentals are unchanged.
The SET index dipped in the past several trading sessions as North Korea spewed nuclear war rhetoric.
"Market sentiment will return to normal after the long weekend. This is a time that investors should consider fundamental stocks and selective buys of cheap stocks when the market corrects," said Mr Charamporn.
Prakit Siriwattanages, investment strategist at Asia Plus Securities, said from Nov 28, 2012, to March 15 this year, foreign investors were net buyers of Thai shares at around 36 billion baht.
Local institutions were the only net buyer group, at 34 billion baht, this year, while individuals were the largest seller group at 22.72 billion baht.
Total trade increased by 23% from the previous month and up 167% from the same period last year.
After the correction, the SET index could reach 1,430 points, driving down the price-to-earnings ratio to 15 times from 17 now, he said.
About the author
- Writer: Nuntawun Polkuamdee
Position: Business Reporter