September 18, 2019 / 10:06 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall ahead of Fed policy decision; Thailand top loser

    * Thai shares lose the most in the region
    * Malaysian stocks dip on weakness in palm oil producers
    * Indonesia rises ahead of central bank policy decision

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Sept 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
declined in thin trading on Wednesday as investors were cautious
ahead of an expected U.S. interest rate cut, with Thailand
shedding the most on a drop in oil prices.  
    With a 25-basis point U.S. rate cut seen as near-certain,
investors will look at the Fed's statements for clues on the
future policy direction of the central bank. 
    "In the absence of any surprise in the rate move, investors
will be looking at the message from the FOMC in the statement
and subsequent press conference," said Nick Twidale, director
and co-founder, Xchainge. 
    "The risk probably sits once again with a hawkish cut and if
this comes to fruition, then expect stock markets to take a hit
along with risk trades overall."
    Thai shares fell 0.6% to their lowest close in two
weeks and were the biggest losers in the region as tumbling oil
prices pressured the country's energy stocks.
    Oil and gas producers PTT PCL and PTT Exploration
and Production PCL dropped 3.7% and 4.6%,
respectively.
    Singapore benchmark index extended losses to a third
straight session as financials faltered. 
    Malaysian shares ended at their lowest in over one
week as a drop in palm oil prices weighed on producers of the
commodity.
    Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd closed at an over
one-month low, while edible oil distributor PPB Group Bhd
 slipped 1.6%.
    Bucking the trend, the Indonesian benchmark index
inched up ahead of a central bank interest rate decision on
Thursday. 
   Bank Indonesia is expected to cut its benchmark rate for the
third meeting in a row, to support growth, according to a
Reuters poll.
    Tobacco company Gudang Garam Tbk PT was among the
top gainers as it rose 1.5%, following a 20% slump earlier in
the week on a government mandate to slap higher taxes and hike
cigarette costs 2020 onwards.
    An index of Jakarta's forty-five most liquid stocks
 was 0.5% higher.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3166.84   3183            -0.51
 Bangkok                1654.14   1663.93         -0.59
 Manila                 7915.29   7932.23         -0.21
 Jakarta                6276.633  6236.69         0.64
 Kuala Lumpur           1599.49   1604.3          -0.30
 Ho Chi Minh            995.15    996.74          -0.16
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3166.84   3068.76         3.20
 Bangkok                1654.14   1563.88         5.77
 Manila                 7915.29   7,466.02        6.02
 Jakarta                6276.633  6,194.50        1.33
 Kuala Lumpur           1599.49   1690.58         -5.39
 Ho Chi Minh            995.15    892.54          11.50
 


 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya
Soni 
)
  
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