Market Roundup 7 March 2023

1) Thai stock market overview

Thailand’s SET Index closed at 1,618.51 points, increased 11.63 points or 0.72% with a trading value of 57 billion baht. The analyst stated that the Thai stock market closed higher, following the positive momentum from international markets, supported by Thai inflation data at 13-month low.

The analyst recommended investors to keep an eye on Jerome Powell’s statement to the Congress in which a hawkish view could pressure the market, and the negative sentiment could extend until the Fed’s meeting later this month.


2) Thailand’s headline inflation rises 3.79% in Feb, 13-month low and less than expected

Thailand’s inflation rate rose 3.79% year on year in February, a 13-month low and less than the market’s projection of 4.1-4.2%, according to commerce ministry data released on Tuesday.

The headline consumer price index (CPI), a common measure of inflation, rose 3.79% in February, following a 5.02% increase in January.

Meanwhile, the core CPI index rose 1.93% year on year in February, compared to a 2.10% increase predicted.

The Commerce Ministry projected that inflation would be between 2% and 3% in 2023, with an average of 2.5%; this was in keeping with the current economic condition but may be revised if there were major changes.


3) China’s Jan-Feb exports and imports drop again due to weak global demand

January-February exports were down 6.8% from the same period a year ago, following a 9.9% year-over-year drop in December. Still, the result was better than the average market forecast, which called for a 9.0% drop.

Meanwhile, official data released on Tuesday showed that imports fell by 10.2% year-over-year in the first two months of 2023, which was lower than the 5.5% decrease that had been forecasted.

Continued sluggish demand for the country’s products is reflected in a decline in both exports and imports, lending fuel to official worries that a global downturn may be felt at home.


4) Japan’s Jan real wages drop at fastest pace in nearly 9-year amid inflation pressures

Inflation-adjusted real wages, a measure of household purchasing power, fell by 4.1% in January compared to the previous year, the largest drop since May 2014, according to labor ministry statistics released on Tuesday. This decline came after December’s was lowered by 0.6%.

Although big Japanese companies like Toyota, Nintendo, and Fast Retailing responded to calls from policymakers and union demands by declaring plans for unprecedented pay raises, real salaries still declined.

Japan’s wage growth trends are being closely watched by investors since the Bank of Japan has stated that wage increases, along with inflation of 2%, are necessary to begin reducing its ultra-easy monetary policy.