Thai stocks rise to 2-year high on business-reopening optimism

(Bangkok Post file photo)

Thai stocks climbed to a two-year high after the government unveiled some additional plans to reopen the economy and reported a further decline in coronavirus cases.

The benchmark SET Index rose as much as 0.6% to 1,658.08 before trading at 1,652.14 as of 1.37pm in Bangkok, setting course for its highest close since Sept 17, 2019. The gauge has gained about 9% in the past month, the biggest rise among Asia’s main equity measures. 

The economy is expected to see an easing of travel restrictions for overseas tourists, with the government betting that will help buoy growth. Asian countries from Singapore to Indonesia and the Philippines are implementing policies to deal with the endemic nature of the outbreak to protect livelihoods and save their economies from extending a slump.

“There will be a significant return of international tourists next year with the nationwide vaccine rollout,” said Srikanya Yathip, the head of Government Pension Fund. “This would be the biggest driver for Thai economic recovery.” 

The country plans to create more access to its popular tourist destinations, including Bangkok and Pattaya starting next month. The government may also let its state of emergency expire at the end of this month, with the Covid-19 outbreak already showing signs of easing, National Security Council Secretary-General Natthapol Nakpanich said Monday. 

The government on Tuesday reported 13,821 new Covid-19 cases, the lowest total in more than six weeks. 

Airports of Thailand Plc, the state-controlled airports operator, rose 1.2%. Minor International Plc, which runs an array of resorts and fast-food restaurants, climbed 2.3%. Major Cineplex Group Plc, the largest cinema chain, gained 2%. 

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