March 20, 2020 / 4:38 AM / 16 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most gain as policymakers combat virus impact; Philippines recovers

    * Philippines sees best day in over 11 years
    * Philippine shares have eased 20% in previous two sessions
    * Singapore set to snap seven straight sessions of losses

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Friday, with Philippines bouncing after its worst session
ever, as global efforts to blunt the coronavirus's economic blow
calmed some frayed nerves.
    A surge in oil prices also provided support, with stocks in 
Thailand jumping 2.8%, the most in the region. 
    Policymakers around the world have cut interest rates and
pumped liquidity into markets this week in a bid to stave off
the economic shock from the virus. China, the region's largest
trading partner, is set to unleash trillions of yuan of fiscal
stimulus, sources told Reuters.
    "Arguably, a slew of emergency central bank action, mostly
unscheduled, has helped to assuage the worst of fears with
regards to an unchecked meltdown," Vishnu Varathan, analyst at
Mizuho Bank, said in a note.
    "Add to that decisive fiscal activism globally to tackle
coronavirus risks, and glimmers of hope begin to appear. But we
remain wary of false dawns in fragile markets for now."
    Philippine shares were 1.7% higher, after earlier
jumping as much as 6.8%, which marked their biggest intraday
percentage gain in more than 11 years.
    Opening after a two-day trading suspension on Thursday, the
index clocked its biggest one-day fall on record. It is down
over 18% this week.
    Bucking the trend, Indonesia dropped 4.6% as the death toll
from the virus in the country hit 25 - higher than any other
Southeast Asian country.
    Worries about a funding squeeze due to surging demand for
the U.S. dollar persisted, putting pressure on emerging Asian
currencies. However, many central banks have moved in to boost
liquidity.
    Singapore's central bank said it set up a $60 billion swap
facility with the U.S. Federal Reserve, while the Thai central
bank bought bonds worth nearly $1.4 billion on Thursday.

    Singapore's stocks rose as much as 2.2%, set to snap
seven straight sessions of losses, supported by the industrials
sector. 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0310 GMT
  Change on the day                                     
  Market               Current      Previous    Pct Move
                                    close       
  Singapore            2337.63      2311        1.15
  Bangkok              1072.95      1044.19     2.75
  Manila               4703.76      4623.42     1.74
  Jakarta              3972.586     4105.422    -3.24
  Kuala Lumpur         1251.68      1219.72     2.62
  Ho Chi Minh          720.02       725.94      -0.82
                                                
  Change so far in                              
 2020                                           
  Market               Current      End 2019    Pct Move
  Singapore            2337.63      3222.83     -27.47
  Bangkok              1072.95      1579.84     -32.08
  Manila               4703.76      7,815.26    -39.81
  Jakarta              3972.586     6,299.54    -36.94
  Kuala Lumpur         1251.68      1588.76     -21.22
  Ho Chi Minh          720.02       960.99      -25.08
 


 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Aditya Soni)
  
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