Concerns over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have strongly impacted investment in stock markets around the world, including Thailand.

As soon as the market opened this morning, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index plunged by 106 before reaching a decline of 111.52 points, or 10%, to 1,003.39 points. A circuit breaker was triggered to halt trading for 30 minutes.

Today’s circuit breaker, the fifth ever by the SET, is the second this week after the first yesterday, and followed a 2,000-point drop of Dow Jones last night – the worst since Wall Street’s Black Monday crisis on October 19, 1987.

The stock market panic came after the President of the United States, Donald Trump, imposed a travel ban on passengers from European Union (EU) countries, increasing concerns over the COVID-19 situation and making airline stocks plummet.

The SET President, Dr. Pakorn Peetathawatchai, said today the Thai stock market plunge was the result of concerns over the pandemic, but remarked that there is an opportunity in every crisis. There are as many as 231 stocks whose prices are the lowest in five years on the SET and Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) markets.

There are also more than 448 stocks with a book value lower than the market value, meaning that these assets have a higher value than the company’s share value. This is a good opportunity for long-term investors who can take short-term volatility.

The Finance Minister, Uttama Savanayana, said his ministry has been closely monitoring the stock markets and if necessary, he will ask the cabinet to launch additional assistance measures.

Mr. Uttama added that he does not want investors to be overly concerned, and he believes that the stock market will rebound when the situation improves. He confirmed that the government is not yet ready to cut taxes to stimulate investment.

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