Shares of the iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (NYSEArca: THD) are up 1.2% Wednesday, making the lone Thailand exchange traded funds one of the day’s best-performing emerging markets funds after the Bank of Thailand surprisingly cut interest rates.
During Wednesday’s Asian session, the Bank of Thailand pared its benchmark borrowing rate to 1.75%, a cut that few economists saw coming. Of the 22 economists surveyed prior to the Bank of Thailand meet, just six predicted a rate cut, according to Bloomberg.
The Bank of Thailand had previously held rates steady for seven consecutive meetings, but has now joined more than 20 global central banks in lowering borrowing costs this year. THD is up 1.6% this year, easily outpacing the 2% drop for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
Considering political headwinds and increased volatility across parts of the emerging markets complex, THD has been a solid performer this year. In January,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. [Thailand ETFs Rises Despite Small Outflows]
Emerging markets central banks have been among the most dedicated cutters of interest rates this year. Recently, China and India have lowered rates. Russia did so in January and some traders are betting another are cut from the controversial country is imminent. Indonesia and Turkey have also lowered rates.