November 21, 2019 / 4:24 AM / 23 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Slump on U.S.-China row over Hong Kong, trade deal uncertainty

    * Philippines shares hit almost six-week low
    * Indonesia cenbank rate decision due later
    * Singapore economy grows 0.5% y/y in Q3

    By Arundhati Dutta
    Nov 21 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets opened
sharply lower on Thursday as the United States and China sparred
over U.S. bills on Hong Kong and concerns emerged that an
interim trade deal may not be signed this year.
    The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills on
Wednesday backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, which
President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law.
    Sapping investor sentiment further, trade experts and people
close to the White House said completion of an initial trade
agreement could slide into next year, as Beijing and Washington
were unable to agree to terms of tariff rollbacks.
    Philippines shares fell more than 1% to their lowest
level in almost six weeks, dragged by blue chips Aboitiz Power
Corp and Ayala Corp, which skidded 1.7% and
1.5%, respectively.
    Singapore stocks slid 1.2% in early trade to a more
than three-week low. The market recovered slightly later as data
showed the city-state's economy dodged recession and grew better
than expected in the third quarter. 
    Singapore's GDP rose 0.5% year-on-year, beating the
government's advance estimate and matching the growth forecast
in a Reuters poll.
    Liu Jinshu, director of research at Tayrona Capital Pte Ltd,
said he expected losses to narrow further, given the market's
resilience and low volatility so far.
    "In terms of yield, our local banks are pretty attractive,"
he added. 
    The Singapore stock market has been the region's second best
performer this year after Vietnam, racking up a near 5%
gain.
    Indonesian equities slipped by 0.6%, with financials
weighing on the index ahead of the Bank Indonesia's policy
meeting later in the day.
    Most analysts expect the central bank to leave policy rates
unchanged, having cut rates four times back to back this year.
    "A patient pause will afford BI scope to ease further in
2020 should global headwinds to growth pick up, while inflation
is likely to stay within target," ING analysts said in a note. 
    Malaysian shares dropped 0.7% to their lowest since
Nov. 1, while Thai stocks declined for a third straight
session.
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0313 GMT
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3205.52   3229.78         -0.75
 Bangkok                1593.94   1596.83         -0.18
 Manila                 7789.37   7898.06         -1.38
 Jakarta                6117.639  6155.109        -0.61
 Kuala Lumpur           1590.34   1601.14         -0.67
 Ho Chi Minh            999.5     1000.56         -0.11
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3205.52   3068.76         4.46
 Bangkok                1593.94   1563.88         1.92
 Manila                 7789.37   7,466.02        4.33
 Jakarta                6117.639  6,194.50        -1.24
 Kuala Lumpur           1590.34   1690.58         -5.93
 Ho Chi Minh            999.5     892.54          11.98
 
 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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