Market Watch: Back in the red amid oil worries

Asian bourses saw losses across the board on Wednesday morning as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 850,000 worldwide. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday the epidemic is “far from over” in Asia Pacific while the World Bank said the virus’ impact on Asian economies will put a large part of East Asia into poverty.

Oil prices recorded its biggest-ever quarterly loss because of the fear of oversupply. The International Energy Agency said as much as 20 percent of demand was lost as the outbreak is keeping people home. 

Saudi Arabia and Russia are also increasing oil production to regain market share from American oil companies. Meanwhile, US’ crude reserves increased by 10.5 million barrels last week, exceeding the consensus of a 4 million barrel build-up. 

Brent crude, the international benchmark, nosedived to the cheapest levels in 18 years on Monday, while US’ benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude briefly fell below US$20 per barrel. The prices are mixed on Wednesday with Brent trading down slightly to $22.74 while WTI traded up slightly to $20.57 per barrel.  

The surplus could have adverse effects on Thai petroleum producers. Read here.

Krungsri Securities expects the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) to trade down from the opening of 1125 to the range of 1110-1135 on Wednesday. They said the trading of Super Savings Fund (SSF) with special regulation between April 1-30 could bring in 60 billion baht to the market.

Still, the concern over the outbreak in the US and Europe while countries’ economic activities are grinding to the halt means that investors’ concern over the world economy is not going to go away any time soon. Capital Nomura Securities also expects the SET to trade down into the range of 1080-1140 on Wednesday.

The index dropped by 0.4 per cent to 1120 this morning.

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