BofA Fund Manager Survey Ranks Thailand at the Bottom of Asian Market Interest

The latest release of the Bank of America’s Fund Manager Survey for May has positioned Thailand at the lowest spot in terms of market interest for Asia fund managers. This monthly report, conducted by Bank of America, collects insights from approximately 300 institutional, mutual, and hedge fund managers globally.

In the context of country preferences within Asian markets, Japan continues to hold the top position in May with a net overweight of 44%, followed by Taiwan at 21% overweight. India has experienced a decline from 31% in March to 23% in April, further dropping to 18% in May. China has shifted from -18% in March to 0% in May.

Countries like Malaysia and Singapore are identified as underweight with -5%, while Australia and Indonesia are close to the bottom with -15%. Thailand has a net underweight of -18%, placing it at the bottom of the list.

According to data compiled by Maybank Securities Thailand (MST) as of May 14, 2024, Thailand is ranked the fourth worst in terms of equity flows Month-to-Date among major stock markets in Asia.

Although there has been a slight increase in weekly and quarterly data, indicating a minor inflow of funds into Thailand, the overall outlook since the beginning of this year remains negative, with outflows amounting to $1,875 million.

Factors such as sluggish economic growth and reduced corporate earnings have exerted pressure on the Thai stock market at the start of the year. Leading institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and government entities have revised down Thailand’s GDP growth forecasts due to the absence of a robust recovery in exports amid weakened global demand.

While there has been a growth in tourist arrivals, especially from Chinese visitors, it is anticipated that the numbers will fall short of the pre-COVID levels of around 40 million annually. In 2023, the SET Index reported a 2.6% decrease in total revenue and a 10.2% decline in net profit among listed companies, as per official data from the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Following the end of the first quarter earnings season, the performance of major stocks and big caps has exceeded expectations. The anticipated reshuffling of the Thai government cabinet, alongside potentially better corporate earnings, could enhance the valuation and appeal of the Thai stock market to foreign investors.