The story appears on

Page A11

October 17, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Thailand prays for recovery of monarch -- and stock market

THOUSANDS arrived in buses to pray outside a Bangkok hospital yesterday for the swift recovery of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a day after concerns about his health sparked the biggest slide in a year in Thai stock prices.

As Thais queued up to sign get-well books at Siriraj Hospital, where the world's longest-reigning monarch has spent the past 27 days, investors returned to Thailand's bourse, lured by bargains in a market that has jumped more than 50 percent this year. Thai stocks ended the day up 3.5 percent.

The king's youngest daughter, Princess Chulabhorn, yesterday said his condition was improving and the king was not in danger.

"He needs to continue staying in hospital, but doctors say there is no danger," the princess said.

Her comments were the first by a royal family member since the king was hospitalized on September 19, and follow weeks of opaquely worded updates from the palace.

"His condition has greatly improved. What he only needs now is physical therapy to help him walk better, to strengthen his leg muscles," she said.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij yesterday urged the public to disregard market rumors and attributed a 7 percent slide in the stock market on Wednesday and Thursday to foreigners cashing in after gains.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government's Securities and Exchange Commission had decided yesterday to pursue legal action against anyone responsible for rumors that triggered the stocks plunge.

Investors remain on edge despite assurances from policymakers and the palace itself that the 81-year-old monarch is on the mend after a bout of pneumonia. Dutch broker ING advised clients yesterday to avoid Thai assets altogether.

Strict lese majeste laws in Thailand make comment on royal matters risky. But the king's disappearance from public view has raised concern in the largely Buddhist Thailand where many of his subjects regard him as almost divine.

The health of the king, Thailand's single unifying figure during a long series of military coups and constitutional experiments, is followed closely in financial markets.

Bhumibol's son and presumed heir, 57-year-old, foreign-educated Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet command his father's popular support, raising concerns about succession in the influential Thai monarchy.

At Siriraj Hospital, more than 10,000 Thais each day come to sign their name in get-well books or lay garlands to pray for a speedy recovery. Since he was admitted, 573,360 people have signed the get-well books.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend