SET Index hits near-17-year high
At 1,440.48 points, the Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index yesterday hit a high not seen in 16 years and 11 months thanks to foreign capital inflows.
Foreign investors remained net buyers with purchases outpacing sales by Bt1 billion. The market was bullish with huge turnover of Bt53 billion. Since early this year, their net-buy positions have reached Bt11.56 billion.
According to HSBC's latest survey, 75 per cent of global fund managers are bullish towards equities in the first quarter of this year. This is against 40 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012. No fund manager is underweight on equities. Forty-three per cent of the fund managers are overweight on Asia-Pacific stock markets ex-Japan, against 33 per cent in the previous quarter.
Fund inflows to the stock and bond markets are pushing up the baht. Yesterday the currency opened at 29.66 per US dollar, the highest since August 2011 and up 3.2 per cent from end-2012, according to the Bank of Thailand. It weakened to 29.73 in the afternoon, unchanged from Friday, on anticipation of market intervention.
Foreign investors are to benefit from the stock market's performance as well as foreign-exchange gains.
No rush to sell KTB's shares
The Financial Institutions Development Fund's board of directors is looking at selling part of its stake in Krungthai Bank as one of options to reduce its Bt1.13-trillion debt.
The board discussed the option at a recent meeting, but there was no final decision, said Povongtip Poramapojn, senior director for FIDF management. Rather, the FIDF will first unload shares in Bangkok Asset Management.
FIDF now holds 55.05 per cent of KTB. To maintain a 51-per-cent majority stake, it still can unload a 4-per-cent stake.
KTB's share price dropped Bt0.20 or 0.97 per cent to Bt20.50.
Pavongtip said the FIDF intended to reduce its debt by Bt5 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, while the plan for 2014 is being considered. Commercial banks now contribute 0.4 per cent of deposits to finance interest payments on the FIDF debt.
New boss at Kiatnakin
Kiatnakin Bank has restructured its management team by appointing Aphinant Klewpatinond as chairman and president, replacing Tawatchai Sudtikitpisan.
The appointment will be effective upon the approval of the Bank of Thailand.
Before this appointment, Aphinant was chairman of the capital-market business and president of Kiatnakin-Phatra Financial Group.
Tawatchai was named vice chairman of the board of directors effective last Saturday.
Car sales to drop 10%
Toyota Motor Thailand expects overall car sales in the country to drop by 10 per cent to 1.2 million units this year.
Thailand last year saw a record 80.9-per-cent rise in car sales, to 1.4 million. The growth was driven in part by the government's first-car tax-incentive scheme to stimulate domestic consumption.
Sales of passenger cars posted 672,460 units, up 86.6 per cent over 2011, while commercial vehicles posted 763,875 sales, up 76.2 per cent. The sales of 1-tonne pickup trucks, including modified trucks, were 666,106 units last year, up 82.2 per cent over 2011.
Toyota sold 516,086 vehicles last year, up 77.9 per cent over 2011, divided into 224,816 passenger cars, up 62.8 per cent, and 291,270 commercial vehicles, up 91.7 per cent.