ASP looks to digital assets in hunt for higher growth rates

ASP looks to digital assets in hunt for higher growth rates

Asia Plus Group Holdings (ASP) is considering direct and indirect investment in digital assets because they have higher growth trends than traditional assets.

According to ASP, the outlook for the Thai stock market is brighter for the remainder of this year thanks to good progress in the vaccination rate and the easing of stringent lockdown measures.

However, the Stock Exchange of Thailand Index has limited upside as ASP expects the bourse will see fewer capital inflows until the lockdown is completely lifted and herd immunity is achieved.

The company expects the SET Index will reach 1,670 points by the end of the year.

ASP executive director and chief financial officer Pithayain Assavanig said the digital asset market has enjoyed high growth over the past year.

To tap into that proliferating market, the company set up a research team to study market movements and the mechanism.

"We are evaluating investing in digital coins listed on the digital exchanges licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. We are also studying the feasibility of investment in other advanced investment products such as decentralised finance," he said.

Mr Pithayain said ASP's main concern in investing in digital assets is domestic digital exchanges' technological unreadiness to accommodate big trading volume from institutional investors, as most of them are focusing on retail investors.

"Investing in digital assets should not be overlooked as the market has attracted many young people," he said.

"During the past 10 months, there were over 1 million traders flocking to digital exchanges with hundreds of millions of baht in trading value."

Mr Pithayain said ASP set aside an investment budget of 3.8 billion baht for investing in assets with high growth potential, including private equity.

The company expects to see growth in earnings from securities trading fees in the second half of the year if the market sentiment continues improving from positive factors such as the relaxation of lockdown measures and mass vaccination rates.

As sentiment improves, more companies are likely to list on the bourse, predicts ASP.

For its investment banking business, ASP is handling 21 deals in its backlog, of which 18 are financial advisory services for companies intending to list on the SET.

Therdsak Thaveeteeratham, executive vice-president of Asia Plus Securities, said the Thai stock market has a better outlook for the second half of the year, supported by a gradual decline in Covid cases.

For the short term, the Thai stock market will still see limited capital inflows as funds are likely to move to other markets with fewer lockdown restrictions and better vaccination rates, Mr Therdsak said.

Investors are recommended to watch for signs of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing tapering from the Jackson Hole annual symposium this week as it could affect next week's investment momentum, he said.

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