August 26, 2019 / 4:27 AM / 6 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Drop as fresh tariffs stoke equity sell-off

    * Thai benchmark index dives 2%
    * Singapore touches its lowest in nearly eight months
    * Losses in banking stocks dent the Malaysian index 

    By Soumyajit Saha
    Aug 26 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets dropped on
Monday, tracking a broader global sell-off, with the Thai index
 losing the most as an escalation in the tit-for-tat
Sino-U.S. trade dispute over the weekend battered risk appetite.
    U.S. President Donald Trump raised tariffs on about $500
billion worth of Chinese goods by 5% on Friday, in response to
China's imposition of as much as an extra 10% on existing 
tariffs against U.S. goods worth about $75 billion.

    Asian shares sank as the latest move in the trade war shook
confidence in the world economy and sent investors steaming to
the safe harbours of sovereign bonds and gold, while slugging
emerging market currencies.
    The latest trade salvo will adversely affect China's
supply-chain partners and would add to warnings of "more acute
exports pain in Asia with attendant downside to growth", Mizuho
Bank said in a note to clients. 
    China is Southeast Asia's biggest trading partner.
    "Quantifying downside risks is challenging. Demand for
exports and growth outlook are further dimmed. Correspondingly,
recessions risks are magnified," the note added.
    Thai stocks retreated from previous session's gains to dive
2%, marking their worst session since Dec. 25, 2018. 
    The index was dragged lower by in energy and financial
sectors. Lender Kasikornbank PCL was down 1.9%, while
gas explorer and supplier PTT PCL lost 2.4%. 
    Singapore's benchmark index touched its lowest in
almost eight months, with heavyweights such as DBS Group
Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings
losing 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively. 
    The city-state's July industrial production data, slated for
release later in the day, will be widely watched after poor
inflation figures last week prompted a downgrade in the official
full-year forecast.
    Banking stocks pushed the Malaysian benchmark index
down 1% to its lowest in more than a week. 
    Malayan banking Bhd slipped 1%, while Public Bank
Bhd shed 0.6%.
    Indonesian stocks touched their lowest in nearly
three weeks, dragged by losses in financial and consumer
sectors, with Bank Central Asia losing 1% and consumer
goods company Unilever Indonesia falling 0.8%. 
    An index of Indonesia's 45 most liquid stocks was
down 1.3%.
    The Philippines index was closed for a public holiday.
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 STOCK MARKETS                                    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3066.11   3110.35         -1.42
 Bangkok                1611.67   1646.68         -2.13
 Jakarta                6198.369  6255.597        -0.91
 Kuala Lumpur           1591.99   1609.33         -1.08
 Ho Chi Minh            980.94    992.45          -1.16
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3066.11   3068.76         -0.09
 Bangkok                1611.67   1563.88         3.06
 Manila                 7889.41   7,466.02        5.67
 Jakarta                6198.369  6,194.50        0.06
 Kuala Lumpur           1591.99   1690.58         -5.83
 Ho Chi Minh            980.94    892.54          9.90
 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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