July 31, 2019 / 10:01 AM / 2 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Philippines fall as U.S.-China trade tensions heighten

    * Singapore at over one-month low
    * Thai shares inch up after posting a trade surplus in June 
    * Vietnam snaps a streak of three straight monthly losses

    By Anushka Trivedi
    July 31 (Reuters) - Singapore and Philippines lost over 1%
each on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to
China and their subsequent retaliation unnerved equities, while
caution ahead of the Fed's policy decision also weighed on the
indexes.  
    Amid the latest round of dialogue between the two countries
in Shanghai, China's foreign ministry blamed the United States
for flip-flopping in bilateral trade negotiations over the past
year, after Trump accused Beijing of waiting out his current
presidential term to strike a trade deal.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision is due later in
the day, where a 25 bps point cut is all but insured. However,
the market is anxiously eyeing whether the central bank will
leave the door open for further policy easing.
   "The mini roller coaster ride is expected to continue as the
two competing narratives, the dovish Fed and trade war doubts
jockey for position ahead of FOMC," said Stephen Innes, managing
partner at VM Markets Pte.
    Singapore shares, which are extremely sensitive to
developments in the U.S.-China trade war, closed at their lowest
in a over a month amid broad-based losses. 
    Shares of industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings
Ltd were among the biggest drag on the index.
    For July, the index ended 0.5% lower. 
    Manufacturers in the city-state are facing the doldrums,
which clearly reflects an erosion of business confidence as
global trade tensions persist, OCBC said in a note, and added
that it expects the third-quarter to remain challenging for the
sector.
    Philippines saw its worst trading session in over two
months on weakness in real estate stocks, but managed to log
fifth straight monthly gain.
    Property developer SM Prime Holdings and Ayala
Land Inc shaved over 2.5% each, while a fall in
electricity retailer Aboitiz Power Corp's shares after
poor second-quarter results also pressured the main board.
   
    Meanwhile, Vietnam shares rose 0.6% to snap a streak
of three monthly losses in a row.
    Upbeat second-quarter earnings of Vietnam's largest listed
firm Vingroup JSC and state-run lender Vietinbank
 aided the main board.
    Thai shares inched up after it clocked a trade
surplus of $4.4 billion for June, but ended the month 1.1%
lower.
    The Indonesian benchmark closed little changed. 
    
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3300.75   3350.54         -1.49
 Bangkok                1711.97   1706.49         0.32
 Manila                 8045.8    8150.46         -1.28
 Jakarta                6390.505  6376.996        0.21
 Kuala Lumpur           1634.87   1642.69         -0.48
 Ho Chi Minh            991.66    986.02          0.57
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3300.75   3068.76         7.56
 Bangkok                1711.97   1563.88         9.47
 Manila                 8045.8    7,466.02        7.77
 Jakarta                6390.505  6,194.50        3.16
 Kuala Lumpur           1634.87   1690.58         -3.30
 Ho Chi Minh            991.66    892.54          11.11
 

 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  
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