Not immune to the return of volatility in the global markets in the early 2018, Thai stocks broke their two-year bullish run in February. By the end of March, the Stock Exchange of Thailand SET index was down 3.4% from its high at the end of January. Prior to that, the index had run up a 47% gain since the beginning of 2016.
Thailand investors, however, saw the broad global correction as a buying opportunity, pouring THB 69.5bn into equity mutual funds in February and March according to Morningstar’s estimates. During the same two months, fixed income funds saw outflows of THB 36.1bn, while money market funds lost THB 10.1bn. Allocation (mixed-asset) funds remained in demand, with THB 38.3bn of net new inflows.
Kasikorn AM’s first senior vice president Benjarong Techamuanvivit, told FSA in an earlier interview, that although Thailand was still predominantly a fixed income market, higher-risk products, such as equity funds, have been gaining better traction. This is reflected in high net inflows in the fourth quarter of 2017, after a prolonged period of small or negative flows.
Assets in Thailand mutual funds
Data: Morningstar, fund flows in Thai baht, as of 31 March 2018.
Among the top players, the most successful asset gatherer in the first quarter of 2018 was Siam Commercial Bank, with THB 27.8bn of net inflows, mostly into its fixed income funds. The second largest asset manager in Thailand, with THB 777.6bn of AUM, grew assets by 3.6% in the first quarter.
The top asset manager in Thailand by AUM, Kasikornbank, grew its assets only by 0.2% in the same period and held THB 985.6bn in AUM at the end of March.
TMB Bank saw the biggest net outflows, THB 11.4bn, in the first quarter, and a loss of 2.6% in AUM since the end of 2017.