x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Thai king's health causes growing concern

Concern over the health of Thailand's 81 year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been hospitalised for almost a month, has sparked turmoil in the country's stock market.

Concern over the health of Thailand's 81 year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been hospitalised for almost a month, has sparked turmoil in the country's stock market. Mr Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch, was hospitalised on September 19 for fever, fatigue and lack of appetite. The length of the king's hospital stay and the lack of detailed information from the royal palace have created widespread worry about his condition. Thailand's benchmark stock index rose 1.9 per cent at today's opening to 705.74, but then slipped to a 0.5 per cent gain as morning trading continued. The skittish rebound came after stocks had tumbled more than 7 per cent in the previous two days. The health of the revered monarch is an extremely sensitive topic in Thailand in large part because of concerns about his succession. The palace said late on Thursday that the king was able to eat more and that doctors would continue to give him "dietary supplements and physical therapy". The palace said on Wednesday that the king had a lung inflammation, a condition it first mentioned late last month. Lung inflammation can be a symptom of pneumonia, although the palace has not used that term. The statement said his "general condition is good" but that he would require some time to fully recover "as is the case for the elderly". King Bhumibol's son, the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet have the stature or moral authority of his father, who has been a unifying figure for the 63 years he has been head of state. Adding to nervousness about the future is the political unrest that erupted in 2006, when the prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup after being accused of corruption. * AP