Thai Stocks Reverse Drop to Close Up for First Time This Week

  • SET Index gains 0.5%, paring drop for the week to 6.1%
  • King Bhumibol Adulyadej still unstable, palace says Wednesday

Thailand's King Bhumibol Has Died at Age 88

Thai stocks reversed a decline to close higher for the first time since the royal palace said on Sunday that King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s condition was unstable.

The benchmark SET Index advanced 0.5 percent to 1,412.82 after being down as much as 3.5 percent earlier, paring this week’s decline to 6.1 percent. The baht strengthened 0.3 percent to 35.549 a dollar and the yield on Thailand’s 10-year sovereign bonds fell five basis points to 2.3 percent.

Thai assets have been under pressure since Sunday’s announcement about the health of the king, who has been a symbol of unity in Thailand, which has had 10 coups during his seven-decade reign. BBL Asset Management Co., the manager of Thailand’s best-performing equity fund, said on Thursday that it’s buying local stocks amid the slump.

“We have been net-buying after factoring in most scenarios in the valuations,” said Voravan Tarapoom, the Bangkok-based chief executive officer at BBL Asset, which oversees $16 billion. “Panic selling may stem from concern about the unmeasurable risk and uncertain outlook.”

The SET Index slumped as much as 6.9 percent on Wednesday, its biggest intraday loss since December 2014, before closing 2.5 percent lower. The king’s condition remained unstable, the royal palace said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha cut short a provincial trip on Wednesday to return to Bangkok “in order to prepare for an audience with His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for a routine presentation on the government’s work in progress,” Prayuth’s office said in a statement. It urged Thais “to rely on official announcements for an update on situations, rather than uncorroborated information in social media circles.”

Voravan’s Bualuang Top-Ten Fund has had an average annual return of 19 percent over the past five years, the best performance among 228 Thai equity funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. BBL Asset is a unit of Bangkok Bank Pcl, the nation’s biggest commercial lender by assets.

— With assistance by Andrew Janes

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