Thai bourse chief
hopes to see return
of foreign investors
Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) chairman Pakorn Malakul
Na Ayudhya has predicted that foreign investors will return to buy Thai
stocks in the second half of this year after having initially reduced their
investment portfolios by around Bt74 billion in the first half of the year.
The SET chief said the fundamentals of the Thai bourse and listed companies
remained attractive for foreign investment. “I think the overall investment
in the Thai bourse and stock prices in the second half of this year will be
better than now. Foreign investors have already sold a lot of shares while
local investors have begun to buy more. So, I believe some foreign investors
will return to buy shares,” he said.
Pakorn said that since early this year, the SET index had dropped by a lower
proportion than those of other markets in the region. He cited the
Vietnamese and Chinese stock markets as an example, both of which have
plunged by about 60 and 50 percent respectively. It showed that foreign
investors remained confident of Thailand’s economic fundamentals and the
strong performances of listed companies he said.
Pakorn reasoned that foreign investors had dumped their Thai stocks in order
to reinvest in the United States markets where key interest rates are
expected to rise. The withdrawal of their investments is also a part of an
effort to reduce risks from fluctuations in the exchange rate of the baht
and the US dollar.
He said the anti-government demonstrations led by the People’s Alliance for
Democracy (PAD) is considered as one of the risk factors, but said it is not
the key factor that caused the foreign investors to sell their shares.
The SET chairman predicted that Thailand’s gross domestic product this year
would outgrow that of last year, which saw GDP expand 4.8 percent, due to a
continuing growth in the export sector thanks to a higher world demand for
farm products and rising prices.
Concurrently, the government’s economic stimulus package and state-supported
mega projects would help drive the country’s economic growth, he said.
FTI executive hopes to see Thai steel industry lead ASEAN
Thailand’s steel industry could stand at the forefront of the ASEAN
market in the future if it focuses on development in terms of both
technology and human resources, according to an industry executive.
Federation of Thai Industries’ Steel Industry Club president Payungsak
Chatsuthipol conceded that many operators in the steel industry were
concerned over news reports that Industry and Deputy Prime Minister
Suwit Khunkitti planned to end the required industrial standard for
steel products. This could have repercussions on the steel and
construction industries and related sectors they feared.
Consequently, Payungsak sought clarification from the ministry and
received an affirmation that it would not cancel the criteria. He said
Thailand’s steel producers met and voiced agreement that Thailand should
come up with an approach to enforcing an agreed standard for locally
manufactured steel products.
Payungsak said the private sector was confident Thailand’s steel
industry could stand at the forefront of the ASEAN market if operators
cooperated with foreign strategic partners to produce upstream steel
products and develop technologies and human resources in the industry.
He said he was not worried about the liberalisation of the steel
industry because he believed that the local producers had a competitive
edge and that with production of both upstream and downstream steel,
concerns over heavy fluctuations of steel prices in the world market
Thailand’s current steel demand totals 13 million tonnes per year and is
expected to reach 20 million tonnes a year in the next five to 10 years.