Thai investor confidence rises, policy rate seen on hold - surveys

BANGKOK, June 2 (Reuters) - Investor confidence in Thailand’s financial markets over the next three months has hit its highest level this year, helped by the sooner-than-expected easing of a coronavirus lockdown, a capital market association said on Tuesday.

The Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations said its May survey showed that the investor confidence index rose to 96.93, from 80.4 in April and a record low of 56.7 in March.

The index was higher than the levels before the coronavirus outbreak, which emerged in Thailand in January, the federation’s chairman, Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, told a briefing.

However, concerns remained about corporate earnings, economic recovery and high household debt levels, he added.

A separate survey by the Thai Bond Market Association showed the central bank may hold its benchmark rate at a record low of 0.50% at its next meeting on June 24, after cutting it three times this year, said senior vice president Ariya Tiranaprakij.

The Thai stock market has dropped 13% so far this year, with foreign investors dumping 193 billion baht ($6.12 billion) net of Thai shares. They have sold 132 billion baht of Thai bonds this year.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy may shrink 5%-6% this year, its biggest contraction since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis, the state planning agency says. ($1 = 31.52 baht) (Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)