March 16, 2020 / 4:45 AM / 19 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Slump as Fed relief measures fail to calm virus panic

    * Malaysia flags $800 million impact to tourism from virus
    * Philippine central bank hints at bigger rate cut
    * China's Jan-Feb industrial output contracts at sharpest
pace in
30 years

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 16 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled
on Monday, with Malaysia hitting a near ten-year low, as drastic
policy measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve did little to soothe
investor nerves over the lightning spread of the coronavirus.
    The Fed on Sunday cut interest rates to near-zero levels and
pledged to expand its balance sheet by at least $700 billion in
the coming weeks, joining a global effort to combat the pandemic
which has forced stringent lockdowns and travel bans worldwide.

    "Ironically, markets might have perceived the Fed's response
as panic, feeding into its own fears," Vishnu Varathan, a senior
economist at Mizuho Bank, said in a note. 
    "Despite whipping out the big guns (and jumping the gun) the
Fed appears to lack the silver bullets; falling short of being
the decisive backstop for markets."    
    Malaysia's benchmark index shed 3.4% to hit a near
10-year low, led by losses in the financial sector. Malayan
Banking Bhd hit a near three-and-a-half-year low.
    The country's prime minister said on Friday the tourism
sector had likely suffered nearly $800 million in losses in the
first two months of 2020 due to the virus.
    Adding to woes, Southeast Asia's biggest trade partner,
China, saw industrial output contract at its sharpest pace in 30
years in the first two months of the year as the virus battered
its economy.
    Philippine shares recouped some losses after losing
as much as 7.6% in early trade, but stayed firmly in the red.
    After the Fed slashed rates, the Philippine central bank
also hinted at a rate cut of more than 25 basis points at its
Thursday meeting.
    Singapore shares dropped 3.4%, and were set for a
fourth straight session of losses, while Indonesian stocks
 dropped 4%, ahead of February trade data expected later
in the day.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Change on the                                        
  Market           Current       Previous     Pct Move
  Singapore        2567.57       2634         -2.52
  Bangkok          1094.52       1128.91      -3.05
  Manila           5473.27       5793.94      -5.53
  Jakarta          4773.426      4907.571     -2.73
  Kuala Lumpur     1309.91       1344.75      -2.59
 Ho Chi Minh       748.62        761.78       -1.73
  Change so far                               
 in 2020                                      
  Market           Current       End 2019     Pct Move
  Singapore        2567.57       3222.83      -20.33
  Bangkok          1094.52       1579.84      -30.72
  Manila           5473.27       7,815.26     -29.97
  Jakarta          4773.426      6,299.54     -24.23
  Kuala Lumpur     1309.91       1588.76      -17.55
  Ho Chi Minh      748.62        960.99       -22.10

 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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