Thailand now has the world’s worst stock market

epaselect epa04833216 A Thai investor reacts as he monitoring share prices data displayed on electronic boards at a stock brokerage in Bangkok, Thailand, 06 July 2015. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) main index fell 17.43 points or 1.17 percent at the opening trading session after Greeks voted to reject bailout terms required for continued financial aid. EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

BANGKOK: Rising coronavirus cases in Thailand dimmed the outlook for a quick rebound in tourism, sending the nation’s equities benchmark to rank as the world’s worst performer.

Thailand’s SET Index’s 5.1% slump yesterday, most in six years, came after the government said confirmed cases of the virus rose by three to 40, furling fears of a wider spread.

The benchmark gauge’s 14% decline this year, the most among the world’s key equity indexes, has also plunged it into a bear market from a recent high.

The virus outbreak hit tourism-reliant Thailand particularly hard because Chinese tourists, its biggest source of foreign visitors, have all but vanished.

Income from tourism, accounting for about fifth of the economy, tumbled last month.

That’s exacerbated the effects of a severe drought, a delay in the government’s budget and an export slump in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy.

Other South-East Asian markets have also been battered, with the Philippine Stock Exchange Index’s 11% slide year-to-date and the Jakarta Composite Index’s 10% putting them in the ranks of the world’s worst performing major equity markets in 2020, while Malaysia’s KLCI Index has tumbled out of a 12-year long bull run.

Overseas investors have pulled US$1.18bil from Thai equities this year. — Bloomberg
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