Stocks, gold diverge on war, Covid news

Stocks, gold diverge on war, Covid news

The atmosphere at Hua Seng Heng gold shop on Yaowarat Road on Thursday as people trade gold after the price increase. Arnun Chonmahatrakool
The atmosphere at Hua Seng Heng gold shop on Yaowarat Road on Thursday as people trade gold after the price increase. Arnun Chonmahatrakool

The Thai stock market tumbled 1.99% on Thursday while local gold prices rose by 850 baht after Russia launched attacks on multiple Ukraine cities.

Big gainers included oil stocks, which rose following the attacks, and hospital stocks, which jumped after the daily number of new Covid cases soared to 45,000, including those detected by ATK testing.

Following news that Russia invaded Ukraine, the Dow Jones Futures Index fell 783 points or 2.37% to 32,283 points at 10.54am Thai time, while the Nikkei 225 Index closed the morning session at 26,161.46 points, down 288.15 points, or 1.09%.

The HSI Hong Kong Stock Exchange closed the morning session at 22,925.60 points, down 734.68 points or 3.11%, while the SSE Composite Index closed the morning session at 3,458.12 points, down 31.03 points or 0.89%.

In addition to external factors, the Thai bourse was pressured by a worsening pandemic situation as new daily infections rose to an all-time high. The Public Health Ministry reported 23,557 new cases from PT-PCR tests and 22,240 cases from ATK tests, totalling 45,797 cases. Of the cases, 240 are reportedly severe and 905 are concurrent with pneumonia.

The Thai bourse fell 1.59% in the morning session to close at 1,669.44 points. Brent crude oil rose 4.69% to US$101.93 per barrel, exceeding $100 for the first time since 2014, while natural gas prices rose 4.7%. Spot gold, a safe-haven asset, rose 1.82% with the price hovering around $1,945 an ounce during the trading day.

Natapon Khamthakrue, vice-president of Yuanta Securities, said stocks expected to benefit from the war are oil-related businesses such as PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), Thai Oil and PTT, as well as hospital stocks such as Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) and Bumrungrad Hospital.

The domestic gold price fluctuated widely on Thursday. Domestic gold prices rose 350 baht in the morning session, with gold jewellery with 99.99% purity sold at 30,133.92 baht per one baht of gold weight, according to data from the Gold Trade Association as of 2.40pm.

Pakorn Peetathawatchai, president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said the Ukraine conflict will affect investment globally. He said Thai listed companies must adjust to the situation and investors must consider the impact of the conflict before making any investment decision.

Mr Pakorn said the conflict will cause inflation to rise quickly and the central banks of major economies will accelerate interest rate hikes, causing liquidity in many stock markets, including the Thai bourse, to drop.

Therdsak Thaveeteeratham, executive vice-president of Asia Plus Securities, said the conflict will have a limited effect on the Thai economy because Russia is a minor trading partner, accounting for only 0.8% of total trade with Thailand.

Most of Thailand's exports to Russia are automobiles, auto parts, machinery and rubber products.

Russian tourists to Thailand account for 3.77% of foreign arrivals and generate 5.37% of the total revenue from foreign tourists.

The impact should be quite limited if the situation does not escalate into a world war, he said.

Mr Natapon said Bitcoin mining stocks fell sharply following news of the attacks, in line with a global dip in digital currency prices.

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