Thai shares dropped over 5 percent on the first trading day of the year, suggesting hopes for a happy new year may be scarce amid concerns the elections set for February may not proceed.
In early December, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called a snap election in an unsuccessful effort to defuse anti-government protests. Since then, the main opposition, the Democrat party, has said it will boycott the election and protesters have prevented candidates from registering.
Last week, the Election Commission recommended that the election be delayed until all sides supported it – a scenario many see as highly unlikely.
The benchmark SET dropped 5.23 percent to close at 1230.77, tapping its lowest levels since September 2012, for an around 15 percent loss since protests began in late October.
"We don't know whether the elections can go on under the circumstances," said Adithep Vanabriksha, chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management in Thailand.
"The market is also concerned protests are going to continue later this month and they may step it up to pressure the prime minister. That's probably the main concern at the moment," he said.
The protests were triggered in early November by parliament's consideration of a government-backed amnesty bill that could have allowed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup d'etat, to return home without facing time in prison for a graft sentence in 2008 as well as granting immunity to politicians implicated in 2010 violent protests which killed about 90 people.