The Nation



Foreign shareholding in SET, MAI hits record level

The value of foreign shareholding in the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) as of April broke the all-time record, reaching Bt4.67 trillion, according to the SET's Capital Market Research Institute.

That was a 29-per-cent increase from the end of April 2012 and accounted for 35.93 per cent of the market capitalisation, according to the research conducted by the institute's Sumitra Tangsomworapong.

The study shows that investors from the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United States were the top three foreign shareholders at 38.78, 22.09 and 12.78 per cent respectively. Japanese investors only represented 1.69 per cent, ranking 10th. The top 10 countries represented 92.96 per cent of total foreign investment in the two markets, or Bt4.37 trillion.

European countries together represented the biggest foreign shareholding when compared with the other continents, with 52 per cent of the total. The main European players in the Thai market were the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Luxembourg, with assets accounting for 4.26, 3.24, 3.09 and 2.08 per cent respectively.

SET assets held by European countries that are currently facing financial crises - Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal - only totalled Bt222 million, but even this number represented an increase from Bt193 million in 2012.

According to the research, Asian shareholdings in the Thai market totalled Bt1.43 trillion, with 77 per cent (Bt1.10 trillion) from Asean countries. Asians are minor shareholders in the Thai stock markets since most of their holdings were purchased as part of a business tactic, with no plan to expand. However, as the opening of the Asean Economic Community is imminent in 2015, added connections through the Asean Linkage are expected to provide opportunities for members of securities companies and investment management companies in Thailand to expand into neighbouring countries.

The study also shows that foreign investors still hold most foreign shares but remain active in buying and selling local shares and NVDRs (non-voting depository receipts). In the first four months of this year, foreign investors controlled 78.98 per cent of foreign shares, 21 per cent of NVDRs and 1 per cent of local shares in the Thai stock markets.

In the first nine months of the year, net sales by foreign investors amounted to Bt106.418 billion. According to the SET study, foreign net sales reached their peak in June and August at Bt59.92 billion and Bt39.994 billion respectively.

The study also shows that foreign shares and NVDRs had increased by 270.001 billion shares by the end of September, up by 26.91 per cent from the end of 2012.

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