Market Roundup 20 March 2024

Thailand’s SET Index closed at 1,373.18 points, decreased 9.28 points or 0.67% with a trading value of 54.64 billion baht. The analyst stated that the Thai stock market lost its fund flow from foreign investors, as they raised concerns over the possibility that the US Federal Reserve could announce the decreasing number of interest rate cuts from three to two times throughout the year, causing the big-cap stocks to be the first to see impact from this forecast.

The analyst expected the market trend tomorrow to mainly depend on the result of the Fed meeting.


Inflation in the United Kingdom came in lower than expected in February and down from a 4% rise in January.

According to an official data from the Office for National Statistics, the headline inflation in February was 3.4% year-on-year, which was lower than a 3.5% increase estimated by Reuters poll. Meanwhile, inflation grew 0.6% on a monthly basis, returning to the positive territory after a contraction of 0.6% a month prior. The month-on-month data also came in lower-than-expected from a 0.7% rise forecast by Reuters.

The official data showed that food, restaurants and cafes were the biggest contributors to the decrease in February, but housing and fuel remained the biggest pressure on the prices.

The Bank of England expected a temporary decline of inflation to its target range of 2% in the second quarter, while expecting an upward rise later in the year.

Meanwhile, UK’s core CPI, which excludes volatile food, energy, alcohol and tobacco prices, came in at 4.5% year-on-year, which was below an estimate of 4.6% from the market and down from 5.1% from January.


The Thai government will continue forging ahead with its digital wallet handout and may need to borrow to finance the handout to stimulate spending in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Julapun Amornvivat, a deputy finance minister, made the remarks on Wednesday during the three-day debate on a 3.48 trillion baht budget bill for the 2024 fiscal year that has been delayed since October last year.

The deputy insisted on going ahead with the 500 billion baht scheme, saying that it may be necessary to get a loan through a bill.

The scheme drew a lot of criticism from exports and society, mostly over the concern of how it would be funded. The handout will transfer 10,000 baht to 50 million Thais who are eligible for the scheme to spend within the timeframe.

The plan is expected to stimulate spending in the ecosystem and generate money circulation in the system. The Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expects Thai economic growth at 5% after the adoption of this scheme.

The delayed fiscal budget is expected to be ready by early next month, though it will require approval from the Senate and the King.


Business tycoons and big corporates are now racing to process the application for the licenses of Thailand’s first virtual banks as Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) and Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (SET: GULF) are the recent ones to announce the progress.

Suphachai Chearavanont, Chairman of True Corporation Public Company Limited, a telecommunication arm of CP Group, stated that the company and its partners, including Ant Group, were preparing for a bid to acquire the license of virtual bank, as it observed importance of advanced technology in the financial industry and that the license could benefit the company to approach a large group of consumers.

Meanwhile, GULF’s Chief Executive Officer Sarath Ratanavadi also noted on yesterday at the opening of Gulf Binance that the company would apply for a bid in partnership with Krung Thai Bank Public Company Limited (SET: KTB), Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (SET: ADVANC) and PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (SET: OR), as he emphasized for the hope that the bid for virtual bank would help the company to expand itself into online businesses such as cryptocurrency trading and digital lending.

Another conglomerate as SCB X Public Company Limited (SET: SCB), which last year announced it partnered with South Korea’s KakaoBank, was also expected to announce a new partner from China this week, according to CEO Arthid Nanthawithaya, adding that the new partner has technology expertise to support new businesses.

The Bank of Thailand revealed terms and conditions for the application to acquire the license of virtual banks on 4 March 2024, with the aim to support SMEs, underserved and unserved people. The application for the establishment of virtual banks can be applied from 20 March to 19 September 2024, while the name of the bidding winners will be announced next year.

Though the central bank did not specify the exact number of the winners, it once stated that the license will be limited to only three.