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STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Citi raises Krung Thai Bank price target

Citigroup raised its price target for Krung Thai Bank Pcl

to 23 baht from 21.64 baht and kept its 'buy' rating on the stock, as it expected the state-run bank's third-quarter results to be strong.

Shares of the second-largest bank in the country rose 1.1 percent to 18.5 baht on Thursday. The stock has risen 32 percent so far this year versus a 38 percent gain of the banking subindex and a 27 percent rise of the broader SET index .

The broker forecast the quarterly earnings ended September to rise 43 percent year-on-year to 7.9 billion baht ($258 million), boosted by SME and retail loan growth. It raised 2013 earnings estimate by 2 percent, citing loans to infrastructure projects.

"With government expecting to play a significant role in boosting the economy with a 2.3 trillion baht program, Krung Thai Bank should stand to gain from its relationship with government and state entities," it said in a report.

Listed commercial banks are due to report their third-quarter earnings from mid-October.

0929 (0229 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com); Editing by Jijo Jacob

($1 = 30.58 baht)

Keywords: MARKETS THAILAND STOCKSNEWS/