Thai stock index down again on virus fright

Thai stock index down again on virus fright

Women travel in a public bus wearing protective masks due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Bangkok on Monday. (Reuters photo)
Women travel in a public bus wearing protective masks due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Bangkok on Monday. (Reuters photo)

The stock market rout resurfaced again for Thailand on Wednesday, sending the main equity benchmark to tumble by 1.7%, as market sentiment was gripped by the Covid-19 epidemic and fears of another global financial crisis.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index closed at 1,249.89 points, down 21.36 points, in turnover worth 72 billion baht.

BGRIM shares plummeted the most by shedding 13.3% from Tuesday’s close, followed by GULF (10.1%), GPSC (8.4%) and BAM (5.2%).

Profit-taking was seen in some large-cap stocks, such as Advanced Info Service Plc, said Sorrabhol Virameeteekul senior vice president at Kasikorn Securities.

Despite a raft of aid measures by the government, the SET index is expected to continue experiencing recurring volatility and weak confidence over the next two weeks, with a possibility of dipping below the 1,200 points level given heightening downside risks, said Mr Sorrabhol.

Rising coronavirus infection cases in Thailand and the United States are the main factor dampening investor confidence, he said,

If the Thai government raises the Covid-19 outbreak to the third containment stage, this would have an effect on the transport and retail sectors since people will have to stay at home as part of an effort to curb local uncontrollable transmission, said Mr Sorrabhol.

The first-stage is transmission from animals to humans, the second-stage is local transmission and the third-stage refers to vast and uncontrollable infections. 

A sharp plunge in crude oil prices and the Covid-19 epidemic remain as factors denting market sentiment worldwide, said Thanadech Rungsrithananon, senior vice-president at UOB Kay Hian Securities Thailand. 

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde told European Union leaders via a conference call that Europe risks facing an economic crisis similar to the 2008 global financial crisis without a coordinated action to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Many parties have sent signals that the situation could worsen. No improvement on oil prices or the Covid-19 containment will cause global stock markets to continue experiencing volatility,” said Mr Thanadech.

“It is hard to pin the market direction. I can only tell that the equity market has a risk-off mode and money has been moving into safe haven assets.”

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