March 9, 2020 / 4:30 AM / 25 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Markets drop as virus fears deepen, oil prices plunge

    * Oil prices fall most since 1991
    * Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam dive over 5% each
    * Malaysian shares hit lowest since Nov. 2011

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 9 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on
Monday as investors panicked over the economic damage from the
coronavirus outbreak, and oil prices plunged after Saudi Arabia
slashed selling prices and laid out a plan to increase
production. 
    The number of people infected with the coronavirus topped
107,000 across the world as the outbreak reached more countries.

    Oil prices dropped as much as 31.5% - the most since 1991 -
after Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, started a
price war after Russia balked at making further steep output
cuts proposed by OPEC.
    "The market continues to be fear- and headline-driven, and
it is difficult to imagine a durable and broad-based recovery in
risk sentiments soon", Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist at
Mizuho Bank, said in a note.
    Oil and coronavirus-driven risks are likely to deepen the
sell-off in Asian markets, he added.
    Denting sentiment further, exports in China - the region's
biggest trading partner - contracted sharply in the first two
months of the year and it ran a trade deficit for the period.

    Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam dived over 5% each.
Financials across the region fell, even as the double shock from
the virus and slide in oil prices raised hopes of stimulus
measures by global central banks.
    Analysts are expecting another rate cut by the U.S. Federal
Reserve at its scheduled policy meeting on March 18, while the
European Central Bank will also be under intense pressure to act
at its meeting on Thursday.
    Thai stocks fell as much as 6.9%, their worst
intraday session since December 2014, with oil and gas giant PTT
PCL plunging nearly 30%. 
    In Indonesia and Malaysia, energy stocks
dragged benchmarks lower. Petronas Chemicals Group,
unit of Malaysia's state-owned energy firm Petroliam Nasional
         , declined as much as 18.4% to hit a record low.
    Singapore bourse fell as much as 4.5% to hit its
lowest since November 2016. Petrochemical firm Sembcorp
Industries dived nearly 8% and was the biggest drag on
the index.
    The Philippine benchmark shed over 5%, hurt by
financials and energy stocks.
    President Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency
on Saturday to help contain the virus, after the country
recorded its first case of community transmission.

   
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 STOCK MARKETS                                    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2838.89   2960.98         -4.12
 Bangkok                1298.32   1364.57         -4.86
 Manila                 6397.87   6770.38         -5.50
 Jakarta                5301.863  5498.54         -3.58
 Kuala Lumpur           1433.61   1483.1          -3.34
 Ho Chi Minh            849.78    891.44          -4.67
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2838.89   3222.83         -11.91
 Bangkok                1298.32   1579.84         -17.82
 Manila                 6397.87   7,815.26        -18.14
 Jakarta                5301.863  6,299.54        -15.84
 Kuala Lumpur           1433.61   1588.76         -9.77
 Ho Chi Minh            849.78    960.99          -11.57
 


 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; editing by Uttaresh.V)
  
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