Thai stock market opens 2 percent lower as prime minister offers support for central bank
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand`s stock market, rocked by a historic plunge following restrictions on foreign investment, fell 2.1 percent Thursday morning even as the prime minister said hefully supports the central bank`s attempts to weaken the baht.
Thai stocks have had a roller-coaster ride this week, tumblingnearly 15 percent Tuesday before recovering 11.2 percent Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Stock Exchange of Thailand`s benchmark SET index fell to 676 from 691 Wednesday, with analysts attributing the decline to profit-taking and worries that a weaker Thai baht againstthe U.S. dollar could spark a sell-off.
The market went into a temporary tailspin Tuesday after the Thai government, eager to weaken the surging baht, announced new rules
tightening foreign investments. It later did an about-face and lifted some of the restrictions but not before the market plunged_in the process rattling regional markets amid worries of another Asian financial crisis.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont Thursday said he fully supported the Bank of Thailand`s measures aimed at limiting speculation on the
baht as well as it`s softening of those measures after it was found to have deterred both long-term foreign investment and short-term speculation.
`The policy isn`t flip-flopping,` he told reporters. `There has been no change in policy. The policy is clear that we don`t want to see the baht rise too much, as it would effect the overall
he baht was trading at 36.53 per U.S. dollar, down from a nine-year high of 35.09 Monday. The baht`s strength has caused deep concern within Thailand`s vital export sector.
Tuesday`s dramatic drop frightened regional markets with memories of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which began in Thailand. But the markets recovered quickly and analysts downplayed such worries, arguing that the region`s economic health is much better than it was a decade ago.
However, this week`s turmoil is expected to hurt foreign investor confidence in the military-backed government which came to power Sept. 19 after toppling Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
`It definitely hurts Thailand`s standing with the international investor community,` said Marco Sucharitkul, president of JP Morgan Securities (Thailand). `Foreign investors will remain wary of Thai monetary and economic policies for the next few months. It does not help that the government was appointed by military coup makers.`
21 ธ.ค. 49 11:30:51