May 18, 2018 / 4:31 AM / 5 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets slip as investors focus on US-China trade talks

    * Indonesia rises up to 0.5 pct, Malaysia climbs 0.4 pct 
    * DBS says Malaysia may benefit from fuel subsidy 

    By Susan Mathew
    May 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
slipped on Friday as investors kept a watchful eye on Sino-U.S.
trade negotiations.
    Wall Street ended slightly lower on Thursday as investors
grappled with U.S.-China trade tensions after U.S. President
Donald Trump said that China "has become very spoiled on trade".

    But helping ease some of the tension, Beijing has offered
Trump a package of proposed purchases of American goods and
other measures aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit with
China by some $200 billion a year, U.S. officials familiar with
the proposal said.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 was 0.1 percent higher.
    In Southeast Asia, Philippine stocks declined 0.5
percent, hurt by industrials and financials, while Singapore
shares were down for a fourth session in five with
financials being the top losers. 
    Indonesian shares rose as much as 0.5 percent after
the central bank raised interest rates late on Thursday, in an
attempt to curb capital outflows and support the rupiah
which is wallowing at a more than 2-1/2-year low.
    Rising oil prices and U.S. bond yields amid the Federal
Reserve's posited rate hike pace forced Bank Indonesia (BI) to
raise the benchmark rate, by 25 basis points to 4.5 percent, for
the first time since November 2014.
    "BI also gave a hawkish tone signalling further rate hike is
possible, but by next month we will have a new BI governor, so
investors may not be willing to price in this hawkish tone yet,"
Trimegah Securities said in a note.
    Unilever Indonesia and Bank Mandiri were
biggest boosts with a gain of 1.4 percent each.
    Malaysia shares climbed up to 0.4 percent with
consumer stock Genting Malaysia rising 2.9 percent and
Petronas Gas gaining 1.5 percent.
    The new government had promised the reintroduction of fuel
subsidies, which along with the removal of the Goods and Service
tax had made investors worry that fiscal deficit could widen.
    However, DBS said in a note that domestic sentiment remains
positive of the fuel tax re-introduction which places Malaysia
in a better position than its peers to weather the current
market.
    "Until more details become available (on the new
government's fiscal and monetary policy), rising energy prices
is considered positive for this net oil exporter amidst
confidence that growth will hold up above 5 percent this year,"
DBS said.     
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: CHANGE AT 0419 GMT
    
 Market          Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore       3522.62  3536.76         -0.40
 Bangkok         1747.8   1751.2          -0.19
 Manila          7659.51  7694.12         -0.45
 Jakarta         5833.79  5815.92         0.31
 Kuala Lumpur    1859.24  1854.44         0.26
 Ho Chi Minh     1027.4   1030.64         -0.31
                                          
 Change on year                           
 Market          Current  End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore       3522.62  3402.92         3.52
 Bangkok         1747.8   1753.71         -0.34
 Manila          7659.51  8558.42         -10.50
 Jakarta         5833.79  6355.654        -8.21
 Kuala Lumpur    1859.24  1796.81         3.47
 Ho Chi Minh     1027.4   984.24          4.39
 
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; additional reporting
by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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