May 4, 2020 / 10:20 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Fall as U.S-China tension spark jitters; Indonesia leads losses

    * Indonesia marks worst day since April 16
    * Philippines, Malaysia post weak economic data; shares fall
    * Thailand closed for national holiday

    By Nikhil Subba
    May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks slipped on Monday
as a flare-up in U.S.-China tensions over the origin of
coronavirus spooked investors globally, while Indonesia fell the
most after disappointing inflation data.
    Data from the statistics bureau of Indonesia, the region's
largest economy showed that the country's inflation rate cooled
more than expected in April, as curbs to contain the spread of
the novel coronavirus continued to muffle demand.
    Statistics bureau chief Suhariyanto said the inflation
pattern was unusual, as traditionally the inflation rate rises
in the period that coincides with the start of the Ramadan
fasting month.
    Leading losses in the region, Indonesia's benchmark index
 closed 2.4% down, marking its worst day since April 16.
    Telecommunications conglomerate Telekomunikasi Indonesia
(Pereso) dropped almost 7% at close, while natural gas
transportation and distribution company Perusahaan Gas Negara
 declined over 5%.
    Meanwhile, risk sentiment in the session took a battering
after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday there
was "a significant amount of evidence" that the new coronavirus
emerged from a Chinese laboratory.
    The accusation came after Donald Trump's threat late last
week of retaliatory measures against China as punishment for the
outbreak, once again sparking tariff fears that rattled markets
through much of the last two years.
    "Rekindling a dormant U.S.-China trade war will likely make
any economic improvement exponentially more difficult," Stephen
Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, said in a note.
    Export-reliant Singapore, which is highly exposed to the
U.S.-China tariff tussle, saw its benchmark index settle
2.3% lower. Industrial conglomerate Sembcorp Industries'
 tumbled 5%, while Singapore Telecommunications'
 fell 3.5%.
    The stock markets in the Philippines' and Malaysia
 both closed around 2.2% lower, following
coronavirus-weakened economic data on Monday.

    Philippine property developer SM Investments Corp
ended 2.7% down, while Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate
Axiata Group finished 3.8% down.
    The Thai stock market was closed on Monday for a
national holiday.   
     
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS    
    
  Change on the day                                         
  Market                Current     Previous close  Pct Move
  Singapore             2563.69     2624.23         -2.31
  Manila                5572.09     5700.71         -2.26
  Jakarta               4605.487    4716.403        -2.35
  Kuala Lumpur          1376.59     1407.78         -2.22
 Ho Chi Minh            762.47      769.11          -0.86
                                                    
  Change so far in                                  
 2020                                               
  Market                Current     End 2019        Pct Move
  Singapore             2563.69     3222.83         -20.45
  Bangkok               1301.66     1579.84         -17.61
  Manila                5572.09     7,815.26        -28.70
  Jakarta               4605.487    6,299.54        -26.89
  Kuala Lumpur          1376.59     1588.76         -13.35
  Ho Chi Minh           762.47      960.99          -20.66
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Subba; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
  
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