Thailand takes U-turn on COVID vaccination rule for visitors

China’s rapid reopening has brought joy and sorrow for world markets

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Winners

Emerging markets, benefiting from tourism and trade ties with China, topped the buying list.

The favorite for Husseini and other investors was the Thai Baht. It hit its highest level since March and is up nearly 5% since early December.

Chinese tourists are vital to the Thai economy, accounting for a quarter of the annual visitors to Thailand before the pandemic.

Europe’s leading investor, Amundi, said the reopening could be a “turning point” for emerging market equities, with trading also supported by the Investment Institute at BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager.

Goldman Sachs said Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand should boost the company’s earnings.

Another investor favorite is Chile, a copper producer. Its peso is up 7% since early December as copper prices jumped to $9,000 this week for the first time since June.

The commodity-driven Australian dollar, AUD=, could also move higher, said BlueBay Asset Management Fund Manager Zhenbo Hou.

Holiday?

Tourism and leisure stocks were expected to gain. China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market before the pandemic.

“Chinese consumers will run to Beijing International Capital Airport and get out of the country as fast as they can because they want to travel,” said Alison Shimada, head of Total Emerging Markets at Allspring Global Investments.

Travel could also benefit European luxury stocks, where Chinese consumption has shrunk since the start of the pandemic, UBS said, accounting for about 17% of the sector’s sales versus 33% in 2019. This should encourage evaluation.

Shares of luxury brand LVMH have reached record highs this week.

The safe-haven dollar was expected to hurt as China’s reopening boosted world growth but the euro gained. China is the EU’s main trading partner, accounting for about 16% of total merchandise trade.

Barclays analysts believe a slowdown in China was responsible for more than half of the euro’s decline against the dollar last year.

The reopening supports the outperformance of European stocks and challenges the consensus underweight position, he added. UBS also favors European materials, industrials and consumer discretionary stocks.

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