May 10, 2018 / 10:15 AM / in 5 months

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall; Vietnam extends fall to third day

    * Philippine cenbank hikes interest rate after market hours
    * Markets in Malaysia, Indonesia closed

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    May 10 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell
on Thursday, with Vietnam sliding 2.7 percent weighed
down by lenders, while Philippines shares ended
marginally higher after data showed first-quarter economic
growth was in line with expectations.
    The Philippines economy grew 6.8 percent in the first
quarter, matching expectations and supporting optimism the
government is on track to meet its growth target.
    After market hours, the Philippine central bank raised
benchmark interest rate which has remained unchanged in over
three years. 
    "Philippines now has (by far) the steepest 2-year/10-year
spread in emerging Asia. With inflation accelerating, tightening
policy now could allay overheating concerns," DBS Group Research
said in a note.
    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised the key
interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent after market
close on Thursday.
    The Philippine index ended 0.2 percent higher led by lenders
such as BDO Unibank Inc, up 2.1 percent and
Metropolitan Bank & Trust's, up 2.6 percent.
    Vietnamese stocks extended losses for a third
session, with financials leading the decline. 
    Vietcombank fell 5 percent and Bank for Investment
and Development of Vietnam shed 7 percent.
    Markets in Malaysia were closed for special public holidays,
following a stunning defeat of the incumbent Prime Minister
Najib Razak by the Pakatan Harapan party led by former mentor
Mahathir Mohamad.
    A fall in the Malaysian ringgit in offshore trading and a
rise in the cost of insuring the country's debt showed evidence
of apprehension among investors.
    The central bank, however, proceeded with a policy meeting
and kept its key interest rate unchanged.
    Mizuho Bank said the holidays were "buying time for Pakatan
Harapan lawmakers to reassure investors that any change would be
gradual and carefully managed".
    The country's national stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, said
trading would resume on Monday.
    Indonesian markets were closed for a local holiday.
The central bank had said on Wednesday it may raise its
benchmark interest rate in a move to support the rupiah
which has been wallowing at 2-1/2 year lows. 
    Bank Indonesia, which has held the interest rate steady
since cutting it by 25 basis points in September, will hold its
monthly policy meeting next week.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3537.59   3548.54         -0.31
 Bangkok            1746.89   1756.9          -0.57
 Manila             7571      7555.27         0.21
 Ho Chi Minh        1028.87   1056.97         -2.66
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3537.59   3402.92         3.96
 Bangkok            1746.89   1753.71         -0.39
 Manila             7571      8558.42         -11.54
 Ho Chi Minh        1028.87   984.24          4.53
 
 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri; Editing by Vyas
Mohan)
  
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