SEC to make it binding on crypto exchange platforms to warn buyers of risks
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2023
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has drafted a new regulation to govern the exchange of cryptocurrencies by requiring the exchange platforms to warn buyers of the risk of losing their money.
The SEC is soliciting public opinion on the draft regulation through its website and the online public hearing process will continue until February 24.
The new regulation has been drafted after taking into account the opinions of operators of digital asset trading platforms and the general people on how to inform the public of the risks of trading. The opinions were solicited from September 15 to October 17 last year.
After the SEC had compiled the opinions from the round of hearings, it resolved during a meeting on December 1 to abolish the minimum purchase of a cryptocurrency in line with opinions.
As per the new draft regulation, operators of cryptocurrency trading platforms would be required to visibly announce the following wordings on their platforms: “Cryptocurrencies are fraught with high risks. You may lose your entire invested amount.”
The new draft also requires operators to inform investors of the estimated amount of investment, and the investors must be told to acknowledge their awareness of the risks before they can make purchases.
The SEC said the new regulation would take effect 30 days after being published in the Royal Gazette. It is expected to take effect in the middle of this year.
Thailand third highest buyer of gold in Southeast Asia in 2022
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2023
Demand for gold in Thailand was the third highest in Southeast Asia in 2022 as the precious metal remains popular for hedging against inflation and global uncertainties, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.
Andrew Naylor, WGC regional CEO for Asia Pacific excluding China, told an online media briefing that demand for gold in Asean was in line with global trends.
However, while global gold demand is primarily driven by central bank purchases, demand in Asean is primarily driven by individuals who buy gold to increase their personal wealth or speculate for profit.
Asean gold buyers have also been encouraged by China’s reopening, which has rapidly restored the region’s business activity to pre-Covid-19 levels.
According to the Gold Demand Trend 2022 report, Vietnam was the biggest buyer of gold in Asean, with 69.1 tonnes, followed by Indonesia (50 tonnes), and Thailand (37.9 tonnes).
Naylor said that Vietnam’s gold demand was up 37% over last year, due to their strong recovery. Vietnamese craving for gold bars and coins accounted for around 41 tonnes of the country’s total gold demand. Indonesia saw similar trends, the council said.
Thailand, on the other hand, in 2022 witnessed only a modest increase in gold demand of 3% year on year.
The higher gold demand in Thailand was supported by a 15% year-on-year increase in jewellery demand, followed by an 8% year-on-year increase in bar and coin demand.
Overall demand for gold in Asean and around the world remains strong. High inflation, central bank policies, global economic uncertainties, and geopolitical tensions have driven investors to seek safe haven assets to protect their portfolios, Naylor stated.
However, as long as inflation remains high, gold demand from retail buyers will soften. Institutional investment will be the primary factor for gold’s rise in terms of demand and returns, he said.
He believes the trend should alert retail investors to be cautious.
“Institutions view gold as an effective hedge against inflation, but they also have access to other cutting-edge tools that individuals do not. Individuals have no other option to protect themselves against inflation than to invest in gold,” he noted.
However, institutional investor demand is likely to drive up gold price, making it prohibitively expensive for individuals to use gold for hedging.
Naylor believes that gold will continue to see at least modest demand this year.
Gold usually falls in value when interest rates are rising and the dollar is strong. However, given the current uncertainties and high inflation, most investors would see gold as a non-interest-bearing asset worth holding.
According to the WGC study, annual returns from investment in gold during periods of high inflation would average around 13% in dollar terms.
Naylor also shared key findings from 2022 global gold demand trends. According to the study, gold continues to play an important role in a recessionary and inflationary environment.
Annual gold demand increased 18% to 4,741 tonnes (excluding over-the-counter) in 2022, the highest annual figure since 2011. The main driver of the surge was a 55-year high in purchase by central banks — 1,136 tonnes — led by those in emerging markets, such as Turkey and China.
Meanwhile, gold investment increased 10% to 1,107 tonnes. In contrast, jewellery consumption fell 3% in 2022 to 2,086 tonnes, while industry demand for gold dropped as well due to the global slowdown.
Government urged to make Thai stock market more investor friendly, as new trading app launched
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2023
Thailand’s stock market should be improved to attract more investors, investment gurus said on Thursday.
The remarks were made during a press conference at the launch of “Liberator”, a stock trading application, at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok.
The application, which does not charge any stock trading fees and offers access to a community for exchange of knowledge, was launched by Liberator Securities.
Nonarit Bisonyabut, a senior research fellow at Thailand Development Research Institute, said the people’s demand for savings had increased amid uncertainty over the ageing society.
The majority of the elderly say they do not have enough savings to be used during their retirement, he said.
He pointed out that more people were turning to gambling in order to make money. He added that around 800,000 people on average were turning to gambling annually.
“On the other side, 2.3 million people had opened their account for investment, but only 400,000 to 600,000 investors were still active,” he said.
Nonarit said the government’s move to levy a financial transaction tax on stock trades from April 1 this year barred investors from speculating for profit.
Instead, he said Thailand’s stock market should be improved to attract more investors. He suggested including the Liberator application in schools in a bid to create awareness among students.
Meanwhile, Thai Value Investor Association chairman Chalermdej Leewongcharoen said zero stock trading fee should have been introduced a long time ago.
He pointed out that the decline in the number of stock investors had happened as some of them were not aware of this investment.
“However, investment in stocks has changed, thanks to several investors sharing their knowledge on the internet,” he said, adding that most of these investors were teenagers.
Echoing Nonarit, Chalermdej slammed the government’s move to levy a financial transaction tax on stock trades. Instead, he advised the government to make the stock market more transparent, especially on regulations related to fees.
He pointed out that Thailand’s stock market was not fair, as large investors paid less in fees than retail investors.
“Levying a financial transaction tax on stock trades will affect market sentiment,” he said.
Both gurus praised Liberator Securities for launching an application that is able to tackle the stock market’s pain points effectively.
According to Liberator Securities, stock investors had to pay 0.08% in commission fee while trading stocks. For instance, investors have to pay 800 baht in fee for trading stocks worth 1 million baht.
Thailand a beacon of hope for investors in emerging Asian markets: seminar
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2023
Thailand remains a safe haven for investors looking to capitalise on some profitable opportunities among Asia’s emerging markets this year amid global economic uncertainty, a group of Abrdn experts said.
The United Kingdom-based global investment company hosted a seminar titled “2023 Global Outlook: Embrace the Perfect Storm” in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Darunrat Piyayodilokchai, Abrdn’s head of equities Thailand, explained the Thai equity market’s upbeat outlook to three key positive factors: strong economic recovery momentum; supportive foreign information fund, especially from the tourism industry; and a short-term catalyst, such as the general election in May.
“This year, tourism will be critical to Thailand’s growth. Tourist arrivals in 2023 have been revised from 20-22 million to 25-28 million. Every million people contributes 0.3% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). So, tourism will contribute approximately 1-1.75% to GDP this year, helping to offset the export sector, which tends to slow with global recession,” she stated.
Despite the global recession, export slowdown, high costs, earnings decline, political tensions, foreign exchange volatility, and the impending implementation of a local financial transaction tax in May, Darunrat believes Thailand would be able to manage the risk.
Thailand will be one of two Asian countries with higher growth in 2023 than in 2022, according to Abrdn. The country’s growth rate is expected to increase to 3.6% this year, up from 3.3% last year.
Pongtharin Sapayanon, Abrdn’s head of fixed income and asset allocation Thailand, suggested that of all asset investments (equities, fixed income, bonds, real estate, commodities, and foreign exchange), Asia’s emerging market is preferable due to the region’s positive growth and China’s reopening.
However, investors must be selective and conservative. This means they must carefully consider the fundamentals of each asset, such as corporate profitability, investment grade bonds and credits, commodity demand and supply balance, and a long history of consistent dividends, he explained.
(From left) MC, Jeremy Lawson, Pongtharin Sapayanon, Darunrat Piyayodilokchai and Nicholas Yeo
Aside from Thailand, Abrdn recommends that Thai investors look for opportunities to grow their portfolio in China.
According to Nicholas Yeo, Abrdn’s director and head of equities, the property sector and Covid-19 may be two factors holding China back, but the easing of its policy after its post-Covid reopening, rapid development of its own innovation, and significant revenue growth reliant on the domestic market make Asia’s largest economy promising.
He emphasised that China is investible, but it takes time and expertise.
China is one of the few major economies that does not experience inflation. Flexible government policies can be implemented, he noted.
Meanwhile, there is an opportunity for equity in China because 62% of the country’s household pension allocation is heavily invested in real estate, which is a risky investment. Hence, China is encouraging its people to shift from real estate to the capital markets (equities and fixed income).
Jeremy Lawson, Abrdn’s chief economist and head of research institute, said the global economy is still facing multiple and reinforcing headwinds this year, particularly recession, inflation, and geopolitical tensions.
According to him, inflation will be the most worrying and troubling factor when it becomes more persistent as a result of labour market tightness, wage growth, and higher expectations.
This scenario will force major central banks, particularly the US Federal Reserve, to keep raising interest rates in order to halt inflation and contain it at the 2% target. The continued hike in interest rates may result in a slowing of business activity and, eventually, cause a recession.
Although the inflation peak has already passed, Lawson warned that core inflation (excluding food and energy prices) is likely to be stickier, forcing central banks to continue to tighten policy in 2023, making the next 12 months globally occupied with recession.
However, there are some opportunities for investors during this global downturn. Lawson suggested gradually increasing exposure to high-paying companies, then take advantage of alternatives that are truly uncorrelated to traditional equity and fixed income markets, and to not overlook China.
Some 4,000 Chinese business leaders to meet in Bangkok: WCEC
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2023
Around 4,000 Chinese business leaders and entrepreneurs will attend the 16th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) in Bangkok from June 24-26 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong are the founding members of WCEC. The founders take turns in hosting WCEC around the world every 2 years.
Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce hosted the 3rd WCEC for the first time in 1995. After 27 years, WCEC has become the forum connecting Chinese entrepreneurs from all over the world in promoting international cooperation.
Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, president of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said that the 16th WCEC meeting will be held in Bangkok for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
WCEC had successful meetings 15 times. This meeting will look into trade opportunities in Thailand while discussing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), in addition to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Narongsak said that in the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic created uncertain situations and has impacted the world’s economy as well as the business of the Chinese globally.
He said, “We are ready to push the development of global Chinese entrepreneurs in this digital age, cooperating in various fields and promoting trade between Thai entrepreneurs and the world, linking investments and creating a future with Chinese business owners around the world to restore Thai’s and the world’s economy.”
According to Kasikorn Research Centre, Chinese tourists are expected to reach 5 million or 42% of the total Chinese visitors to Thailand in 2019.
The increase in tourists will begin in the second quarter and even more, will arrive in the second half of the year because of more flights and increased packaged tours.
Thailand’s economy, tourism and business will be boosted especially if Thailand will be chosen as one of the leading countries in revitalising travelling on large scale.
The Chinese usually travel during the summer school break in July-August and during the Chinese national day of the people’s Republic of China from 1-7 October every year.
SET unveils strategies to further develop capital market
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2023
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will sustainably boost the country’s capital market competitiveness in the next three years (2023-25) to ensure benefits for all sectors.
The SET also aims to promote all groups of entrepreneurs and investors, attract new industries and promote fundraising by issuing digital tokens, SET president Pakorn Peetathawatchai said on Tuesday.
He expects Thailand’s capital market to face volatility amid uncertainty in the global economy, high inflation and geopolitical risks.
Pakorn said the SET has implemented four strategies to develop Thailand’s capital market in the next three years through:
▪︎ Simplifying the process to enable small, medium and large business enterprises to raise funds in the market.
▪︎ Improve capital market standards and boost the efficiency of the investment system and cybersecurity, as well as modernise trade regulations to meet market conditions.
▪︎ Create opportunities by applying data analysis function to further develop the capital market.
▪︎ Adhere to sustainable development by training capital market personnel and creating awareness on financial literacy among retirees and low-income people.
“The SET expects that the four strategies would help boost Thailand’s capital market growth, such as expanding opportunities in fundraising and investment among entrepreneurs and investors,” Pakorn added.
Asean poised for starring role in global economy this year: UOB
SUNDAY, JANUARY 08, 2023
Key Asean economies will be among the few globally to show impressive growth this year, as the world economy slips into slower growth or a recession, according to a recently published report by one of the largest banks in Southeast Asia – Singapore-headquartered United Overseas Bank (UOB).
“Fundamental factors are supportive of [key] Asean economies to defend against the uncertain environment ahead in 2023, as risks loom for economic recessions in the US, UK and Europe, tightening financial conditions, further straining of US-China relations and Russia-Ukraine conflict,” the report says.
The key Asean economies it refers to are its six most developed: Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Enrico Tanuwidjaja – lead author of the UOB report, and its senior vice president for global economics and markets research at its Indonesia unit – told Nation Thailand that 10 “fundamentals” would help the six key Asean countries weather global turmoil and withstand volatility.
Tanuwdidjaja said they are:
1. Strong momentum from the post-pandemic recovery
2. Output rising above pre-pandemic levels
3. Robust trade
4. Tourism recovery
5. Benign inflation
6. Supply chain shifts
7. Healthy investment inflows
8. Ample foreign reserves
9. Ability to pay imports
10. Low level of short-term debt
Asean rebounded strongly in the second half of last year as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, Tanuwidjaja said. Surging exports, along with increased domestic consumption, drove economic growth, he said.
At the same time, inflation in Asean – and most of Asia – has been, in general, lower than in most developed markets because consumer prices are partially cushioned by administrative measures, Tanuwidjaja said.
Some Asean economies also benefitted from access to domestic supplies of energy, minerals, and agricultural products in 2022, the economist said.
“This means that regional central banks’ policy tightening [has been] less aggressive than the [US] Fed’s, giving the economy more room to expand,” he explained.
Tourism will be the mainstay of some Asean economies this year because China has relaxed its zero-COVID policy and is reopening its borders, he added.
“It will provide a further boost to tourism-related sectors, such as retail, food and beverage, transportation, and lodging throughout Asean. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam typically benefit the most [from Chinese tourism],” Tanuwidjaja told Nation Thailand.
Southeast Asia is also benefitting from a shift of supply chains from China to the region that is accelerating due to rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, he said.
These structural shifts will be driven by US efforts to counter China, and will include drawing supply chains back to the US and “friendshoring,” which refers to shifts of supply chains to countries with friendly ties to Washington. The structural shift to the world economy caused by de-globalisation and regionalisation of supply chains will benefit Asean by increasing manufacturing in the region and boosting exports, Tanuwidjaja said.
Supply chain shifts are also accompanied by investment inflows, resulting in an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as businesses establish manufacturing plants, warehouse facilities, distribution networks, and other facilities, the economist added.
FDI into Asean increased by 44% in 2021 to a record US$ 175.3 billion, according to the UOB report. Asean is the world’s third largest destination for FDI, trailing only the United States and China, the report notes.
It says that despite a depletion in foreign reserves over the past year due to the strengthening US dollar, the amount of reserves held by central banks is far higher than in 1997 – when the region experienced a financial crisis. These reserves will continue to act as a cushion against large capital outflows, Tanuwidjaja explained.
The ability to pay for imports is another indicator of confidence in Asean’s key economies, he said.
“Most Asean countries have more than enough reserves to cover three months of imports, which is considered an international ‘rule of thumb’,” he said.
They also have relatively small amounts of short-term external debt relative to reserves, except Indonesia and Malaysia, Tanuwidjaja said.
This puts Asean countries in a good position to withstand pressure from a strengthening US dollar and rising global interest rates, he explained.
UOB concluded that global GDP growth rates would be lower in 2023 than last year. Full-year declines are expected in developed markets such as the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom, while ASEAN’s key economies are only expected to slow to less than 5% in 2023, down from more than 6% in 2022.
Clouds over Thai economy
Although Thailand is one of the few countries with high potential for economic growth in a year of global uncertainty, its challenges outnumber its advantages in 2023, Tanuwidjaja said.
Tourism will help Thailand meet or even exceed its growth targets in 2023, but its exports will lag those of its neighbours, while national output has yet to return to pre-COVID levels, he said.
His forecast was supported by Somprawin Manpraser, chief economist of the Economic Intelligence Center (EIC), Siam Commercial Bank, and Amonthep Chawla, chief economist of CIMB Thai.
Somprawin compared Thailand’s economy to a cloudy day.
Tourism will contribute significantly to recovery, but inflation, the global recession, and political uncertainty inside and outside the country can easily stifle growth, he said.
“So, Thai businesses and people must be aware of and prepared for unexpected situations. We need a backup plan. We must also use this recovery period to identify new economic boosters and to upgrade our human workforce,” Somprawin said.
Amonthep warned of currency speculation and prolonged inflation that would force western central banks, led by the US Federal Reserve, to keep raising interest rates.
He said this would reduce the number of tourists visiting Thailand and curb international spending.
He urged the government to address labour shortages in the service industry, which impede growth.
“Tourism will spur Thailand’s growth this year, but not enough to sustain it in the long run. We must develop a new business model,” he said.
Amonthep added that training Thai people in digital literacy and soft skills to nurture high-value emerging sectors and the green economy – sometimes referred to as the “S-curve economy” in Thailand – would undoubtedly help the country grow sustainably.
Liberator Securities has released its app for commission-free stock trading and plans to fully launch the service on January 3, the company said.
The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It allows users to trade on the SET and the Thailand Futures Exchange without any commission on trades, and will add gold and currency trading in the second quarter of 2023.
The company said the app makes trading more convenient as it saves users from having to visit branches.
“We believe that technology will facilitate the next generation of securities companies to fully operate on digital channels,” it said on its website, adding that the transition will reduce costs.
Investors can also get news and gain knowledge from updates and chats through the company’s website and social media channels.
The Securities and Exchange Commission gave the green light in March for News Network Corp to establish Liberator Securities.
Liberator charges a fee of 200 baht to open an account.
Reviews, podcasts, virtual reality among 2023 content marketing trends
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2022
The Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) has identified seven content marketing trends for next year, which may not just win customers’ hearts, but also improve business potential and opportunities.
“Business operators can become social-media celebrities every day,” TPSO said on Sunday.
The seven trends in content marketing for 2023 are:
• Consumers’ experience: Reviews, testimonials and social-media messages influence consumers more than brands
• Streamed, live and recorded content: Anything that allows consumers to participate directly will continue trending for a long while
• Micro-influencers: Social media users with a small following will be able to engage with consumers more than influencers who have a lot of followers
• Virtual reality: This will play a key role in brand promotion as it will help improve consumers’ decision on purchasing products and services
• Podcasts: This will keep trending next year as it can engage with a large audience. This trend is also being promoted by Spotify and YouTube
• Shoppable posts: This feature introduced by Instagram and Snapchat to engage consumers via social-media messages will become a trend next year as brands seek ways to boost sales and engage with a larger audience
• Interactive content: An effective way to engage customers as it can cover questionnaires, surveys and games. Most marketers say their interactive content helped keep their brand different.