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Investors in limbo as Thailand’s SET ends 2018 down 10.8%

Singapore and Philippine stocks also lost more than 10% each as trade tensions between the US and China caused heavy capital outflows.

Boris Sullivan

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2018 was a grim year for equities all round, as only two exchanges in all of Asia Pacific — Mumbai and Wellington — ended the year with positive returns.

Shanghai, (-24.9%) for the year to Dec 27, was the world’s second-worst performer behind Athens (-25.5%).

But according to Nikkei editors Thailand, for example, who raised its key interest rate for the first time in seven years, is among Asian equity markets likely to attract buyers if investors rethink their portfolios as the U.S. economy slows and the Fed reviews its monetary policy.

Foreign investors were net sellers on the SET for the fourth year out of the past five (2016 was the exception with net buying of 77.9 billion baht).

But their net sales in 2018, at 287.45 billion baht, were more than 10 times the 2017 total of 25.75 billion, says the Bangkok Post.

For the year, Singapore and Philippine stocks also lost more than 10% each as trade tensions between the US and China sapped risk appetite and caused heavy capital outflows.

Indonesian stocks declined the least, falling about 2.5%.

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