Thai baht at six-year low, tourism shares fall af­ter bomb­ing


Thai­land's cur­rency slumped to a six-year low on Tues­day and shares fell in Bangkok over con­cerns an un­prece­dented at­tack in the cap­i­tal could hit the vi­tal tourism sec­tor.

At least 21 peo­ple were killed and over 120 wounded when a bomb ripped through a Bangkok re­li­gious shrine late Mon­day, in what author­i­ties said was the worst ever at­tack on Thai soil and tar­geted at for­eign­ers.

The baht fell to 35.536 against the dol­lar on Tues­day morn­ing, touch­ing its low­est point since April 2009. Tourism-linked com­pa­nies led the sell-off, with Air­ports of Thai­land plung­ing 6.27 per­cent while Cen­tral Plaza Ho­tel tum­bled 8.61 per­cent.

"Thai­land is vul­ner­a­ble right now as eco­nomic growth and cor­po­rate earn­ings are weak, while tourism is not do­ing great," An­drew Stotz, CEO of Bangkok-based Stotz In­vest­ment Re­search, told Bloomberg News.

The tim­ing of the blast just as "we're com­ing into this high tourism sea­son" means it could be par­tic­u­larly dam­ag­ing to the sec­tor, which ac­counts for 8.5 per­cent of GDP, he added.

Po­lice said two Chi­nese, two Hong Kongers, two Malaysians and one Sin­ga­porean were among those killed in the at­tack on the Erawan shrine in the heart of Bangkok's tourist and com­mer­cial cen­tre.

Mor­gan Stan­ley said big-spend­ing Chi­nese tourists -- whose num­bers have soared in re­cent years, buck­ing a gen­eral down- trend -- are par­tic­u­larly likely to be put off by the un­rest.

Last year around 4.6 mil­lion Chi­nese na­tion­als vis­ited the king­dom, with the av­er­age tourist spend­ing 5,500 baht ($155) per day, more than the av­er­age Euro­pean visi­tor.

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