Thailand stocks slide the most in Asia as investors dump risky assets

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has buckled under a collapse of its tourism sector. (Bernama pic)

SINGAPORE: Thailand’s stocks slid the most since the global financial crisis as investors dumped riskier assets amid a global equity rout.

The SET Index fell as much 9.5%, the most since October 2008 and just short of a 10% decline that would trigger a trading halt.

The measure ended the morning session 8.8% lower, the second-steepest slide in a major regional equities gauge after the Philippine benchmark.

Airports of Thailand Pcl fell 12% and was the biggest drag on the SET index.

“The market is reacting now more to the fear of global investors,” said Win Phrompaet, a fund manager at Principal Asset Management Co in Bangkok. “This may be a time to start buying, the market has reacted too much.”

Equity index falls most intraday since October 2008

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has buckled under a collapse in tourism, a sector that accounts for about one-fifth of gross domestic product.

The government this week approved a package of stimulus measures that it said will inject about 400 billion baht to counter the blow from the coronavirus outbreak.

Thailand’s health ministry said Thursday that confirmed cases of the disease known as Covid-19 jumped by 11 to 70. That’s the biggest increase in recent days.

Separately, a gauge of consumer confidence for February fell to its lowest level since April 1999 as the virus, a delay in the annual government budget and a drought eroded sentiment, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.