August 19, 2019 / 10:03 AM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-SE Asia Stocks-Most rise as China rate reforms boost sentiment (Aug 19)

 (Corrects last paragraph in Aug 19 report to say Fitch
Solutions, not Fitch Ratings)
    * Philippine shares gain most, up 1.8% 
    * Thai stocks rise on fiscal stimulus hopes
    * Fitch raises 2019 growth forecast for Malaysia

    By Niyati Shetty
    Aug 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
higher on Monday as investors cheered interest rate reforms by
China's central bank, with Philippine shares adding nearly 2%.
    The People's Bank of China said on Saturday it would improve
the mechanism used to establish the loan prime rate from this
month, in a move to further lower real interest rates for
companies as part of broader market reforms.
    Analysts say the move underscores the government's attempts
to use reforms to support an economy that has been hit hard by a
bruising trade war with the United States.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve is back in focus this
week as investors await the minutes of its July meeting and
Chair Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium, to
get further clarity on the central bank's policy stance. 
    Leading the gains in Southeast Asia on Monday, Philippine
shares jumped to a more than two-week closing high.
Packaged food maker Universal Robina Corp gained 6.5%,
while conglomerate JG Summit Holdings rose 6.1%. 
    "Investors are calm compared to last week when there was a
deluge of negative events," said Rachelle C Cruz, an analyst
with AP Securities.
    Singapore stocks rose 0.4%, with agribusiness firm
Wilmar International adding 2.7%, while real estate
firm Hongkong Land Holdings advanced 1.6%.
    Thai shares eked out gains even as the government
cut it 2019 growth forecast after data showed the economy
expanded at its slowest pace in nearly five years in the second
quarter.
    Investors were optimistic that a planned $10 billion
stimulus package announced on Friday would provide some support
to the slackening economy.
    "All eyes are now on the government's announcement of the
fiscal stimulus package," ING said in a note, adding that "it
needs to be seen how quickly this stimulus gets off the ground
to kick-start the economy over the remainder of the year".
    Energy and industrial stocks were the top gainers, with oil
& gas firm PTT PCL and Airports of Thailand
adding 1.2% and 1.4%, respectively. 
    Vietnam and Indonesian shares closed
marginally higher, while Malaysian stocks retreated
slightly. 
    Fitch Solutions on Monday raised its 2019 growth forecast
for Malaysia after the country reported stronger-than-expected
growth for the first half, but flagged intense pressure from 
exports over the coming quarters.
        
For Asian Companies click;  

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3128.45   3115.03         0.43
 Bangkok                1637.26   1631.4          0.36
 Manila                 7938.35   7795.98         1.83
 Jakarta                6296.715  6286.657        0.16
 Kuala Lumpur           1596.45   1599.22         -0.17
 Ho Chi Minh            981.03    980             0.11
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3128.45   3068.76         1.95
 Bangkok                1637.26   1563.88         4.69
 Manila                 7938.35   7,466.02        6.33
 Jakarta                6296.715  6,194.50        1.65
 Kuala Lumpur           1596.45   1690.58         -5.57
 Ho Chi Minh            981.03    892.54          9.91
 
 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu)
  
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