August 21, 2019 / 9:55 AM / 2 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall as focus turns to Fed

    * Indonesia down ahead of cenbank meeting on Thurs
    * Thailand gains on surprise rise in July exports
    * Philippine markets closed for a holiday

    By Niyati Shetty
    Aug 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
lower on Wednesday as investors anxiously awaited a couple of
U.S. Federal Reserve events for clues on further rate cuts,
while Thai shares gained on strong export data.
    Market participants looked forward to the minutes of the
Fed's July meeting due later in the day and the annual Jackson
Hole seminar later this week for hints on what additional steps
policymakers will take to boost economic growth.
    Worries of a sharp economic slowdown have compounded as the
Sino-U.S. trade war shows no signs of abating. U.S. President
Donald Trump said on Tuesday a confrontation with China was
necessary even if it caused short-term harm to the U.S. economy.

    Indonesian shares fell 0.7% ahead of a central bank
policy meeting on Thursday, with financials accounting for most
of the losses.
    Bank Indonesia is expected to keep key interest rates on
hold, a Reuters poll showed, as recent market volatility rooted
in worries about global growth will likely delay further cuts on
top of the one in July.
    Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT slipped
1.2% and Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT lost 2%.
    Singapore stocks declined, dragged by financials and
industrials. Lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd fell 0.5%
and conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd slipped
1.5%. 
    Fitch Ratings said Singapore would be among the Asian
developed markets that would be hit the hardest by a sharp
economic slowdown in China, given its close trade links with the
mainland.
    Thai stocks gained 0.8% as investors cheered data
showing customs-cleared exports unexpectedly rose in July for
the first time in five months.
    The data comes a day after Thailand's finance ministry cut
its 2019 economic growth forecast to 3.0% from 3.8% projected in
April, due to falling exports.
    Nomura Holdings maintained its 2019 growth guidance at 3.0%
and said "the Bank of Thailand will also likely revise its GDP
growth forecast" and "follow up with another 25 basis point
policy rate cut next month, taking the policy rate to a
historical low of 1.25%." 
     Vietnam shares gained, supported by financial and
real estate stocks, with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign
Trade of Viet Nam adding 4%.
    The Philippine market was closed for a holiday.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3122.57   3135.95         -0.43
 Bangkok                1638.24   1625.57         0.78
 Jakarta                6252.967  6295.738        -0.68
 Kuala Lumpur           1594.59   1602.75         -0.51
 Ho Chi Minh            994.38    984.67          0.99
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3122.57   3068.76         1.75
 Bangkok                1638.24   1563.88         4.75
 Manila                 7886.91   7,466.02        5.64
 Jakarta                6252.967  6,194.50        0.94
 Kuala Lumpur           1594.59   1690.58         -5.68
 Ho Chi Minh            994.38    892.54          11.41
 
 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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