BANGKOK – Last week’s near-100-point drop in the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s SET Index was greeted with great enthusiasm by the city’s many expatriates who possess neither investment income or knowledge of economics.
“Finally, the house of (sic) cards that is the Thai economy is hitting the wall of reality,” claimed Gerald Kellermen, a British teacher who makes Bt42,000 a month, most of which he spends on LEO beer and prostitutes.
In a posting to the forums of ThaiVisa.com, Kellerman went on to explain that the Thai banking sector was corrupt and insolvent, based on a bad experience he had two years ago trying to open a savings account at Kasikorn Bank.
“Those fuckers said I needed a work permit, which I didn’t have. No wonder the economy is collapsing, when they treat foreigners this way.”
His sentiments were echoed by Ben Amherst, an unemployed US expat who lives off his savings and who thinks the strengthening baht is a lie because it hasn’t immediately lowered the prices of imported food items he buys at Villa Market.
“If the baht rises 5% against the dollar, then Doritos should cost 5% less, right?” he asked, apparently unaware that Doritos aren’t an actual commodity. “The baht is bullshit. And Villa sucks,” he added, despite shopping there twice a week because of his addiction to Oscar Meyer sandwich turkey.
“I’m glad the market is crashing,” he said. “No one believes in this stupid country, and they shouldn’t.” He then indicated no plans to leave Thailand.
Other expatriates with no investment capability or education hailed the 5% correction in the market as proof of various pet theories, including that Thaksin was destroying the country, that Thailand depends on tourist money that it was now losing, and that the SET was a bubble from the very beginning, run by a shadowy cabal of insiders.
“This is what they get for making it so hard to get a damned visa,” insisted Kyle Logan, an Australian scuba instructor. “We’re pulling out our money, and they’re screwed” he said, despite last year’s 12% increase in tourist arrivals and the fact that he himself was not pulling out the Bt24,000 he possessed.
Others gleefully celebrated their belief that Thais, who were out to cheat foreigners, would now become poor as they did in 1997, and that Yingluck’s illegitimate government would soon collapse under the pressure of a failed economy.
“Let’s see the man in Dubai lie his way out of this one,” said an anonymous poster on the Bangkok Post’s forum. “His buffaloes can’t prop us his precious companies anymore.”
Meanwhile, Asian equities analysts at Morgan Stanley reiterated their belief in Thailand’s economic growth going forwards, citing its strong fundamentals in value-added exports and conservative banking sectors.
“The correction was overdue, with a 200% gain in the SET in just four years,” explained Deiter Sandalberg, Morgan Stanley’s ASEAN specialist. “The drop puts the P/E at about 19, which is reasonable. We’re putting a slight buy recommendation for SET blue-chips.”
On Monday, the SET climbed 45 points or 3.2%, erasing more than half of last week’s losses.
“Smoke and mirrors,” insisted Kellerman. “This country is fucked, everyone knows it, it’s just a matter of time. You’ll see. I’ll be proven right, eventually.”