Thai Stocks Remain Foreign Wealth Management’s “Top Pick” despite ASEAN’s Worst Performance Market

Despite its poor performance so far this year, a foreign wealth management firm still deems Thailand’s stock market its “top pick” among Southeast Asian bourses and recommends investors to keep eye on political issues since they might be a “game-changer.”

In an interview with CNBC last week, Kelvin Tay from UBS Global Wealth Management anticipates that Thai equities would be a “big beneficiary” of China’s reopening and the expected tourism surge; nevertheless, outbound tourism from China has been “pretty meager.”

Tay also noted the necessity for rapid infrastructure reconstruction in Thailand. New ports and airports were supposed to be built on the country’s eastern seaboard, however Tay, speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia,” cited politics as the biggest threat to the project.

In addition, the wealth management firm urges investors to keep a watch on Thailand’s elections, as they are a “potential game changer.”

With a decline of more than 9% year to date (YTD) and massive outflow since the election date of May 14, 2023, Thailand’s benchmark SET Index has been Asia’s worst-performing stock market so far this year.

Bloomberg reports that in the first full week after election day on Sunday (May 14), investors withdrew $513 million from the bond market. The local stock market also had a net outflow of US$312 million.

Even though Thai stocks have been among the region’s poorest performances this year, Tay calls the country his “top pick” in Southeast Asia.

On Monday, after dropping sharply at the outset, the SET Index rebounded to end the morning session up 2 points.