April 12, 2019 / 4:03 AM / 6 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall, investors cautious ahead of China trade data

    * Singapore Q1 GDP slows from previous year
    * Malaysia set to snap three straight session of losses
    * Risk sentiment curbed by slowing global growth worries

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    April 12 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
edged lower on Friday, with Philippines slipping the most, as
investors exercised caution ahead of China's March trade data
and a slower first quarter GDP growth in Singapore added to
global growth worries. 
     China's exports are expected to have rebounded in March
after a sharp drop in February, while imports likely shrank for
a fourth straight month but at a more modest pace, a Reuters
poll showed.
    "China trade balance readings... will set the tone for Asia
trading. As trade tensions between the U.S. and China cools,
investors are keen to see alleviation in China's export
activities, which had fallen sharply last month," said Margaret
Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets.
    The Philippine index led losses in the region with a
0.4 percent fall, hurt by industrial and real estate stocks.
    Shares of International Container Terminal Services Inc
 dropped 4 percent after an article on BusinessWorld
stated that the company is negotiating with banks for the
possible acquisition of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction
Philippines' assets.
    Singapore shares slipped into the red after
disappointing first quarter GDP data, with industrials dragging
the index. 
    From the year ago, Singapore's GDP grew 1.3 percent in the
first quarter, below the 1.5 percent expansion forecast by a
Reuters poll.
    Following this, Singapore's central bank on kept its
monetary settings unchanged. The central bank also cut its 2019
core inflation forecast to 1 to 2 percent, from 1.5 to 2.5
percent previously.
    Shares of Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd and
Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd declined 1 percent and
0.3 percent, respectively.
    "The Singapore economy as a small open economy is seen as a
harbinger for the other regional growth prints to come," an OCBC
note said. With slowing growth fears weighing on the investors,
trading was range-bound across Southeast Asian stock markets. 
    However, Malaysian shares edged higher after a
report www.mysinchew.com/node/121253 stated that the
government is due to sign a new agreement with China for the
East Coast Rail Link project, which would boost investment
growth in the country.    
     

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0349 GMT
 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3326.18  3330.82         -0.14
 Bangkok                1657.69  1659.09         -0.08
 Manila                 7921.34  7955.8          -0.43
 Jakarta                6415.4   6410.166        0.08
 Kuala Lumpur           1627.09  1624.23         0.18
 Ho Chi Minh            982.68   985.95          -0.33
                                                 
 Change so far in 2019                           
 Market                 Current  End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3326.18  3068.76         8.39
 Bangkok                1657.69  1563.88         6.00
 Manila                 7921.34  7,466.02        6.10
 Jakarta                6415.4   6,194.50        3.57
 Kuala Lumpur           1627.09  1690.58         -3.76
 Ho Chi Minh            982.68   892.54          10.10
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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