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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         1  July  2011

Thai market driven by politics

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Shares linked to Pheu Thai Party members were active yesterday, the final trading day before the election, on speculation that the party will win enough votes to form the new government, but also on the back of an improving global outlook.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index continued its rise to close at 1,041.48 points, up by 0.8% from Wednesday, with trading turnover of 22.4 billion baht, still well below the average for the first five months of the year at 31.9 billion..

Retail investors, meanwhile, speculated in small and medium-sized stocks related to the election and the Shinawatra family on expectations of a Pheu Thai win.

"Political" stocks that saw heavy trading yesterday included SC Asset (up 3.1 percent to close at 13.70 baht in trade worth 712 million baht), Wyncoast Industrial Park Plc (up 9.68% to 34 satang in trade worth 4.82 million baht), Premier Enterprise Plc (up 10.9 percent to 51 satang in trade worth 157 million baht), General Engineering (up 16 percent to 29 satang in trade worth 39 million baht) and M Link Asia Corporation Plc (up 3.51 percent to 1.77 baht in trade worth 166 million baht).

KGI Securities research shows the country's administrative power will likely shift from the Democrat Party to Pheu Thai, making political issues the main factor affecting market sentiment this month.

However, investors hope to see a continuation of current economic policy, said the brokerage. Parin Kitjathornpitak, the research manager at Far East Securities, said Thai shares would react positively next week regardless of who leads the government.

"The SET index will jump if the winning party triumphs overwhelmingly, but if the gap between the two frontrunners is narrow, then there will be only a slight upside," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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