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Thailand Tops Bloomberg’s Emerging Markets List

Bloomberg surveys show that analysts are penciling in high rates of growth next year for some of those that have been hardest-hit in 2020.

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Thailand and Russia are well placed to be among the emerging-market standouts that could beat expectations next year, according to a Bloomberg study of 17 developing markets gauging their outlook for 2021.

Thailand topped the list, owing to its solid reserves and high potential for portfolio inflows, while Russia scored No. 2 thanks to robust external accounts and a strong fiscal profile, in addition to an undervalued ruble.

The Government Spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri reported today that Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has welcomed the ranking of Thailand as the number one country on Bloomberg’s Top Emerging Markets list, indicating high potential for Thailand’s economic recovery thanks to the government’s economic stimuli and investment promotion measures.

The U.S. media firm has conducted studies on the 2021 outlook in 17 emerging markets, covering Thailand, Russia, China, South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and based on 11 indicators of economic and financial performance.

Among these markets, Thailand received the top ranking thanks to the country’s reserves and potential for portfolio inflows.

There remains a worry, especially among poorer less-developed countries, that they’ll be left behind in global vaccination distribution, and emerging markets have certainly taken their share of hits to Covid-era growth, including those like Thailand that are especially dependent on tourism.

That said, Bloomberg surveys show that analysts are penciling in high rates of growth next year for some of those that have been hardest-hit in 2020.

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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Economics

Youth unemployment hits new highs in Thailand due to COVID-19 restrictions

BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO news) – Joblessness among young men and women in Thailand has reached a level unseen in recent years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report - 22 February 2021

The Thailand labour market update  found that youth employment fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 (from the fourth quarter 2019). The youth unemployment rate increased by 3 percentage points for both men and women, reaching a high of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

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