An image of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn is displayed on a 10 baht coin in an arranged photograph in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

Thai Baht’s Slide Fuels One of Emerging Asia's Top Sector Rallies

(Bloomberg) -- A slide in Thailand’s baht is proving to be a fillip for the country’s exporters of electronics parts.

The SET Electronic Components Index is up about 9 percent so far in April, leading the 28 industry groups in the nation’s stock market. Delta Electronics (Thailand) Pcl is one of the top performers this month among the largest firms in emerging Asia’s electrical parts sector, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

The rally follows a drop in the baht as political risk clouds the outlook for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. The 1.5 percent retreat against the dollar in the past two months -- a period spanning the run up to and disputed aftermath of the first election since a 2014 coup -- is the worst in a basket of Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

"The weaker baht is a rare bright spot for Thai suppliers of electronics parts,” said Naree Apisawaittkan, an analyst at Phillip Securities (Thailand) Pcl in Bangkok. "It helps to mitigate some of the impact of the global demand slowdown and U.S.-China trade dispute."

Thai Baht’s Slide Fuels One of Emerging Asia's Top Sector Rallies

Politics aside, seasonal factors could sap the baht in the second quarter as the current-account balance tends to deteriorate in April through June, according to Standard Chartered Bank.

"Optimism about the prospect of an eventual resolution of U.S.-China trade tension has also bolstered sentiment toward the electronics parts sector," said Sittichai Duangrattanachaya, an investment strategist at SCB Securities Co. in Bangkok.

At the same time, the earnings outlook for many of the companies in the industry is weak because global demand is subdued, Sittichai said.

The 10-member SET Electronic Components Index is poised for its biggest monthly advance this month since July. It’s now trading at about 15 times times blended forward 12-month earnings, compared with an average of 13.7 in the past five years.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.