Local equities rally on new peace talks

Local equities rally on new peace talks

Delay of transaction tax also lifts morale

Thai equities rallied on Wednesday after progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine raised hopes for a resolution and the Finance Ministry's decision to postpone imposing a transaction tax on individual stock investors boosted investor morale.

The SET Index joined a global rally and rose to 1,700 points after Russia announced its plans to cut military operations in Kyiv and surrounding areas.

The spot gold price fell to US$1,890 an ounce before rebounding, while the WTI crude oil price dropped 1.6% to $104.24 a barrel in response to the news, although it remains high due to tight supply.

YLG Bullion International said gold prices could stay above $1,907 an ounce after falling to $1,890 an ounce the previous day. The next resistance range is $1,932-1,948 an ounce, said the firm.

SPDR, the world's largest gold fund, reportedly offloaded 1.74 tonnes of gold, while the US Dollar Index also slid yesterday as funds move to riskier assets.

The Bank of Thailand has maintained the policy interest rate at 0.5% and cut its forecast for economic growth from 3.4% to 3.2%.

According to an analyst from Krungsri Securities, Thailand's headline inflation, which hit 5.28% in February, is not yet a concern and will remain high for a short period.

The baht strengthened to 33.5 baht per dollar yesterday after foreigners returned to Thai bonds with net buying of 1.17 billion baht.

In addition to the progress in peace talks, investors also welcomed the Finance Ministry's decision to postpone tax collection from stock trades, returning to risky assets such as stocks.

Bitcoin stood at 1,579,998 baht per unit, or $47,384 as of 2.20pm yesterday, up about 11% over the past week.

For investment strategy, an analyst from Krungsri Securities recommended businesses that will benefit from the oil price decline including Global Power Synergy (GPSC), B.Grimm Power (BGRIM), SCG Packaging (SCGP), Siam Cement (SCC) and Eastern Polymer Group (EPG).

The brokerage also recommended investing in stocks expected to benefit from the easing of Covid control measures such as Airports of Thailand (AOT), Asia Aviation (AAV), Bangkok Airways (BA), Minor International (MINT), Central Plaza Hotel (CENTEL), Erawan Group (ERW), Bumrungrad Hospital (BH) and Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS).

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