Amid speculation of more political instability, foreign investors are departing Thai equities and some investors in the U.S. are leaving the iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (NYSEArca: THD), but those issues are not derailing the lone Thailand ETF.
THD is up 5.4% this year, good for the second-best performance among single-country ETFs tracking Southeast Asian economies behind the iShares MSCI Philippines ETF (NYSEArca: EPHE). THD’s gains have been accrued despite foreign investors’ skittishness toward Thai stocks.
Thailand’s “benchmark SET Index climbed 5.6 percent in January as $128 million of withdrawals by international money managers were offset by $551 million of buying from local institutions and the proprietary trading desks of Thai brokers,” reports Annuchit Nguyen for Bloomberg.
Last month, the Thai parliament voted to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and moved forward with criminal charges against Shinawatra for her role in a rice price-fixing scandal. She could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty on the criminal charges. She has also been banned from leaving the country. THD has largely rebuffed any signs of political instability in the wake of Yingluck’s impeachment.
While some observers may believe Thailand is still rife with political volatility, especially after the military took control in May, Thailand’s economy and incomes have historically expanded faster and remained more stable under the three times the military led government, compared to the nine civilian ones. [Thailand Stocks, ETF Flourish Under Military Rule]
Still, U.S. investors have pulled $30.3 million from THD this year, bringing the ETF’s assets under management total to $483.7 million as of Feb. 9.