Srettha puts SET index’s nosedive down to normal market conditions

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2024

Though PM admits investors may have been scared off by Thaksin’s lese majeste indictment, Move Forward’s dissolution case and his own ethics breach case

Though the prime minister attributed the biggest stock market slump in four years to a normal market condition, he admitted that the political situation may also have had an impact on market sentiment.

When asked on Tuesday how his government will shore up investors’ confidence following the plunge, PM Srettha Thavisin said the drop was part of normal stock market movements.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index opened on Monday morning at 1,313.26 points, the lowest in four years and closed at 1,318.57 points, marking a drop of 14.17 points or 1.06% with a total trading volume of 38.32 billion baht.

When asked if the three ongoing political cases may have caused concerns among investors, he said they may be another factor affecting the market sentiment.

The three cases are the lese majeste case against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the dissolution case against Move Forward Party and the political ethics case against Srettha in the Constitutional Court.

However, the premier said Thaksin’s case was a personal issue and the one against Move Forward was not related to the government. He also said that he had already submitted his defence to the Constitutional Court.

Srettha declined to comment when asked if the market sentiment will improve once these cases are settled, saying only “it’s not appropriate to talk about their future results”.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said it was normal for the SET index to rise or fall, and was unfair for reporters to compare Monday’s slump to the state of the market during the previous government’s tenure.

He was replying to reporters who asked him to comment on critics’ remarks that this slump was far deeper than anything experienced during General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government.

“You can’t say that. The market’s fall or rise is not caused by the [ruling] Pheu Thai [Party] or [the previous government of] General Prayut, but it depends on the current situation,” Phumtham said.

Phumtham, who is also deputy PM, said he believes the market sentiment will improve once the three cases come to an end, adding that reports on the cases may have worried or frightened investors.

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira said that the ministry plans to investigate each section of the market to identify what is causing problems and deploy suitable measures accordingly.