March 20, 2020 / 10:29 AM / 12 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets rally as volatile week ends, Thailand leads gains

    * Philippines, Indonesia see worst weekly losses since 2008
    * Singapore snaps seven-session losing streak
    * Indonesia flags hit to economic growth if outbreak
persists

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
rallied on Friday, wrapping up a volatile week that saw heavy
selling and sharp rebounds, as broad stimulus measures to
mitigate the coronavirus pandemic's impact calmed investors'
nerves.
    Central banks flooded the market with U.S. dollars to ease a
global scramble for the currency, besides cutting rates to help
stem the impact of most countries moving into a lockdown.

    Despite the support, Philippines and Indonesia posted their
biggest weekly losses since the 2008 global financial crisis,
closing down 17.5% and 14.5% respectively for the week.
    "The measures taken by major world central banks and
governments appear to have restored confidence for now," said
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    "However, the rally is fragile and should not be interpreted
as the end of the bear market, rather a small upward correction
within it."
    Thailand's energy-heavy stock index surged 8%,
benefiting from a rally in oil prices. The country's central
bank bought bonds worth more than $1 billion and vowed to buy
more to ensure sufficient liquidity and calm market volatility.

    Meanwhile, Singapore's benchmark rose 4.3% to snap
seven straight sessions of losses after its central bank said it
had set up a $60 billion swap facility with the U.S. Federal
Reserve in a bid to shore up liquidity.
    Malaysian stocks gained 6.9% in their best session
since Sept. 1998, despite a strict two-week partial shutdown
ordered by the government to stem rising cases of the virus.
    The Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index ended
3.4% higher on Friday after an eventful week that saw it return
from a two-day hiatus a day earlier to mark its worst session
ever.
    In a boost to sentiment, the Philippine central bank said it
was ready to intervene in the foreign exchange market to temper
wild swings in the currency.
    Indonesian equities erased early losses to end 2.2%
higher, even as the country raised its crisis protocol status,
and flagged a severe hit to economic growth if the outbreak
persisted.
    Bucking the trend, Vietnam's stock exchange fell
2.2%.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                   
 Market                 Current      Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2,410.74     2,311           4.32
 Bangkok                1,127.24     1,044.19        7.95
 Manila                 4,778.76     4,623.42        3.36
 Jakarta                4,194.944    4,105.422       2.18
 Kuala Lumpur           1,303.28     1,219.72        6.85
 Ho Chi Minh            709.73       725.94          -2.23
                                                     
 Change so far in 2020                               
 Market                 Current      End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2,410.74     3,222.83        -25.20
 Bangkok                1,127.24     1,579.84        -28.65
 Manila                 4,778.76     7,815.26        -38.85
 Jakarta                4,194.944    6,299.54        -33.41
 Kuala Lumpur           1,303.28     1,588.76        -17.97
 Ho Chi Minh            709.73       960.99          -26.15
 

 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; 
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
  
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