Thai shares fall, gold prices hit new record high

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BANGKOK, Aug 8 – The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index on Monday dropped in tandem with regional stock markets after US-based Standard & Poor downgraded the long-term credit rating of the United States late on Friday, but gold prices in Thailand rose to a new record high as investors sought shelter in assets traditionally viewed as safe havens in times of financial turmoil.

Gold bar sales prices were at Bt23,850 per baht weight (15.16 grammes) and gold ornaments at  Bt24,250, according to the Gold Traders Association.

The SET index closed at 1,061.77 down 31.61 points in Monday morning session. The trade value was Bt19,692.40 million.

Analysts said investors were concerned about the US economy and turned to buy gold instead.

In an attempt to calm concerns among investors, SET President Charumporn Chotikasathien advised them not to be alarmed, saying they should consider the country’s long-term economic outlook.

The Thai bourse chief declined to give comment over possible capital inflows into regional markets including Thailand, saying it was too early to judge.

Among the major Asian markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 4 per cent to 20,100.20 by the midday trading break, its lowest level in a year. South Korea’s Kospi crumpled 6.7 percent to 1,814.100. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 2.5 percent to 9,067.88.