Mutual funds registered for sale in Thailand posted an average loss of 2.99% in January, according to Lipper data. In 2007, the funds posted an average return of 16.71% in 2007, up sharply from an average gain of 1.80% in 2006.

Equity funds were among the worst performers, posting an average loss of 8.65%, hurt by the bearish sentiment for shares globally. Bucking the trend, commodities funds posted an average return of 5.62%, thanks to higher commodities prices worldwide.

It is too soon to say whether equities markets will turn positive and stay bullish again, says Suthee Luangaramkul, a Bangkok-based analyst at Lipper. ôThere are several key factors determining market direction, of which investors should be aware,ö she says, including the impact of the US economic slowdown.

Average performance of fund groups registered for sale in Thailand in January, by asset type:

Commodities +5.62%
Money Market +0.35%
Bonds +0.71%
Mixed Assets -6.21%
Equities -8.65%

Top 5 fund sectors in terms of performance in January, with their average gain:

Equity Sector Gold and Precious Metals +7.86%
Commodities +5.62%
Bond Emerging Markets Global +1.18%
Bond Global +0.90%
Bond Thai baht +0.75%

Bottom 5 fund sectors in terms of performance in January, with their average loss/gain:

Equity China -19.9%
Equity Greater China -18.48%
Equity Emerging Markets -17.46%
Equity Emerging Markets Europe -15.44%
Equity Sector Cyclical Goods and Services -15.19%