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Thai Stock Market Plunges After Central Bank Imposes Currency Controls

Thailand's stock market fell more than 12 percent after the central bank imposed controls on the flow of foreign currency into the country. The measure is intended to halt the strengthening of the Thai currency. VOA's Heda Bayron reports from Hong Kong.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) halted trading for half an hour Tuesday after share prices dropped more than 10 percent.

Paweena Dejitikula, an analyst at BT Securities in Bangkok, says the record-breaking sell-off follows the Thai central bank's decision to impose capital controls.

"It seems like the foreign investors over-reacted. There is panic selling, especially in the big cap [high-priced] stocks," said Dejitikula.

Under the new measures, foreign investors will have to keep about one-third of their money in Thailand for at least a year or face penalties.

Analysts say it is the toughest action the Bank of Thailand has taken to curb the flow of funds since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The plunge in Bangkok share prices rattled investors around Asia, and most regional markets fell Tuesday.