RECAP: Asian equities advanced yesterday after a rescue package for First Republic Bank fuelled a rebound in US shares. Even so, the MSCI gauge of Asian shares recorded a second weekly loss after the recent turbulence in the global banking sector.
Next week, all eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve to see whether it will continue raising interest rates at its meeting that ends on Wednesday, in light of the problems facing the banking sector in the US and Europe.
On the domestic front, investors are awaiting the formal announcement of House dissolution, after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that he had submitted the decree for royal endorsement. That would pave the way for an election in May.
Thai shares moved in a range of 1,518.66 and 1,602.65 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,563.67, down 2.2% from the previous week, with averaged trading value of 77.13 billion baht for five operating days.
Retail investors were net buyers of 13.92 billion baht and foreign investors were net sellers of 7.77 billion baht worth of shares, followed by brokers at 4.99 billion baht and institutions at 1.16 billion.
NEWSMAKERS: Major US banks including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have provided $30 billion to California-based First Republic Bank, after its shares lost two-thirds of their value amid liquidity concerns following the collapse of two other lenders.
- US initial jobless claims dropped to 192,000, more than analysts' estimates, from 212,000 the prior week, suggesting continued strength in the US labour market.
- The European Central Bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday to curb inflation, ignoring financial market chaos and calls by investors to dial back tightening amid the rout in global markets since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
- Credit Suisse on Thursday said it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence after a slump in its shares intensified fears about a global financial crisis.
- Japan ran a trade deficit of 898 billion yen ($6.75 billion) in February, the biggest since 1979. An 8.3% rise in imports, due mainly to the weak yen, eclipsed a 6.5% gain in exports to 7.65 trillion yen.
- Mazda Motor is set to appoint Masahiro Moro, director and senior managing executive officer, as its new president, effective in June.
- The Japanese automaker Honda said it plans to adapt two production lines in the US state of Ohio to making electric vehicles that it hopes to launch in 2026.
- New Zealand will ban TikTok on devices with access to the parliamentary network because of cybersecurity concerns. Britain on Thursday also banned the Chinese-owned app on government phones.
- New home prices in China rose slightly in February from the month before as Beijing's move to reopen the economy and supportive policies boosted demand. In annual terms, prices fell 1.2%, the smallest decrease in seven months.
- Urban unemployment in China stood at 5.6% for the first two months of 2023, a slight rise of 0.2 points from a year earlier, as the economic boost from reopening has yet to reach the country's smaller cities.
- Vietnam's central bank on Tuesday cut several policy rates to increase liquidity and support economic growth. The cuts were the first since October 2020.
- Russia's oil export revenue sank 42% in February as Western powers tightened sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine war, the International Energy Agency said.
- Boeing said it had secured orders for dozens of 787 Dreamliner jets with a pair of Saudi Arabian airlines, providing a boost to the airplane, which has faced lengthy delivery delays since late 2020.
- Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it planned to lay off about 10,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce, as founder Mark Zuckerberg said a "year of efficiency" lay ahead. In November, it laid off more than 11,000 people.
- Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Thai institutions did not have any transactions with Silicon Valley Bank or Signature Bank, and fallout from the US banking crisis would be minimal.
- The cabinet on Tuesday extended an excise tax cut on diesel for another two months to July 20 to help reduce the cost of living. The tax cut of 5 baht per litre will lead to a loss of 10 billion baht in revenue per month.
- Central Pattana Plc is joining with more than 20 partners in allocating 400 million baht for its summer promotional campaign for Songkran. The campaign is expected to stimulate cash flow of 2 billion baht in the second quarter.
- Thonburi Healthcare Group will spend 5 billion baht between 2023 and 2025 funding various projects, including the construction of new hospitals in Thailand and Vietnam.
- Asia Green Energy, a local coal trader, expects to post record revenue of 23.4 billion baht this year, in part because coal prices have increased in response to the Russia-Ukraine war. More earnings will come from its diversification into logistics and agricultural trade.
- Economic concerns stemming from US banking worries will not affect long-haul visitors to Thailand in the short term as pent-up demand should support the market, but officials will monitor the long-term impact, said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
- Industrial sentiment in February reached a 47-month high, bolstered by a rebound in domestic demand and tourism, but weak exports were a concern, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said on Wednesday. The industries sentiment index rose to 96.2 from 93.9 in January, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.
- Krungthai Card expects its profit to reach another record in 2023 on bets that a tourism boom and the coming election campaign will accelerate consumption and an economic recovery.
- B.Grimm Power is planning to spend 5-7 billion baht developing more renewable power generation facilities in Europe this year after acquiring two energy assets in Poland and Italy.
- Gunkul Engineering, a renewables developer and construction firm, is working with Gulf Energy Development, the country's largest power producer, to expand its renewable power businesses through government clean energy projects.
- S Hotels & Resorts expects 10 billion baht in revenue this year, a record high and an increase of 20% from last year, supported by global tourism arrivals that are forecast to increase by 30%.
- Bluebik Group, a MAI-listed digital transformation consulting firm, aims to list on the SET main board by 2025, when it expects its revenue to be four times the level recorded in 2022. It expects its overseas business to contribute half of total revenue by 2027.
- The Energy Regulatory Commission is gathering public opinion on its proposal for a single power tariff, which would make electricity bills cheaper for businesses but slightly more expensive for households.
- Thai Union Group, one of the world's biggest makers of canned tuna, is considering an exit from its loss-making Red Lobster unit less than three years after boosting its stake in the US restaurant chain.
- Thailand and the European Union have agreed to restart negotiations on a free trade agreement, aiming to finish by 2025 a deal that was stalled for nearly a decade by the 2014 military coup.
- TMBThanachart Bank (ttb) plans to transition some of its traditional branches to paperless and cashless outlets in an effort to increase its digital banking user base by 30% this year. The bank's brick-and-mortar branches total 560 nationwide, and 5-10 are expected to switch to paperless and cashless outlets as a pilot project, starting from the third quarter this year.
- While the election is expected to bring about an increase in motorcycle purchases, the local market is still affected by inflation which has caused the domestic sales target to be revised down to 1.75 million units, says Thai Honda Co.
- King Power Group has announced the launch of two more duty-free store projects with a combined investment of more than 3 billion baht, in line with the reopening of the country.
- Advanced Info Service is upgrading its My AIS mobile application to become a super-app to offer a wider range of features pertaining to entertainment, insurance, finance, retail, health, lifestyle, and food and beverages.
COMING UP: On Monday, the People's Bank of China will announce the loan prime interest rate and the European Union will report trade data for January. On Tuesday, the EU will release the March economic confidence index and the US will report second-hand home sales for February. The Federal Reserve will hold its policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The US Energy Information Administration will release its weekly oil inventory update on Wednesday.
STOCKS TO WATCH: DAOL Securities recommends high-dividend stocks that are less volatile in the face of global factors, such as TISCO, SPALI, PTT, KKP, LH, AP, TVO, INTUCH and ADVANC.
- Globlex Securities recommends stocks benefiting from House dissolution and spending in the run-up to the election. They include TKS, SIRI, PR9, SC and STPI. Also recommended are stocks benefiting from tourism stimulus such as MINT, CENTEL, ERW, SPA, AU and SHR.
TECHNICAL VIEW: Krungthai XSpring Securities sees support at 1,550 points and resistance at 1,600. Aira Securities sees support at 1,545 points and resistance at 1,600.