August 17, 2018 / 10:14 AM / 4 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets rise on plans for U.S.-China trade talk

    * Vietnam shares sole gainers for the week
    * Singapore sheds early gains, ends slightly lower

    By Ambar Warrick
    Aug 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended
higher on Friday after China and the United States agreed to
hold their first trade talks since June later this month and the
Turkish lira extended its recovery from a record low hit earlier
this week.
    A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang
Shouwen will meet U.S. representatives, China's Ministry of
Commerce said, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that talks
will take place in Washington on Aug. 21 and 22.
    This has sparked hopes that they might resolve an escalating
tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the
world's top two economies.
    They are due to slap tariffs on billions of dollars of each
other's goods on Aug. 23 in addition to levies that took effect
on July 6.
    The lira has rebounded more than 20 percent from its record
low on Monday. 
    The currency's collapse, prompted partly by heightened trade
tensions between Turkey and the United States, had sparked an
investor exodus from emerging markets and led to deep losses. 
    In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares rose 0.9
percent, led by real estate and financial stocks, but fell 2.8
percent for the week.
    Real estate conglomerate Ayala Land climbed 2.7
percent on Friday, while financial counterpart Ayala Corp
 gained 6.7 percent.
    The Philippine central bank said it was optimistic about
inflation and that it was expected to ease after peaking either
in August or September. Inflation had spiked to a more than
five-year high in July, which bodes poorly for price stability 
as well as the peso.
    Malaysian shares were unfazed by
weaker-than-expected second-quarter economic growth data and a
cut in full-year GDP forecast. They closed about 0.4 percent
higher with telcos and industrial stocks leading the
gains.
    Meanwhile, the central bank relaxed currency conversion
rules for exporters and said it would allow companies more
flexibility for hedging of foreign currency obligations. The
country is one of the largest exporters of palm oil in the
world.
    Malaysian stocks fell 1.2 percent this week.
    Vietnam stocks gained 0.5 percent on Friday and
managed to eke out a small gain for the week, making them the
sole weekly gainers in Southeast Asia.
    Singapore stocks gave up early gains to end flat, as
lagging industrials negated gains across financial and consumer
discretionary stocks. 
    "Trading volumes in the local market are really low, and I
think that's causing some volatility... Overall there's still a
risk-off sentiment in the market and that's been exacerbated by
lower volumes," said Joel Ng, an analyst with KGI Securities.
    Indonesian markets were closed for a public holiday.
 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3209.44   3211.93         -0.08
 Bangkok            1690.04   1680.96         0.54
 Manila             7583.52   7517.36         0.88
 Kuala Lumpur       1783.47   1777.27         0.35
 Ho Chi Minh        968.88    964.28          0.48
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3209.44   3402.92         -5.69
 Bangkok            1690.04   1753.71         -3.63
 Manila             7583.52   8558.42         -11.39
 Kuala Lumpur       1783.47   1796.81         -0.74
 Ho Chi Minh        968.88    984.24          -1.56
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu)
  
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