March 4, 2020 / 4:34 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Fall as Fed rate cut fails to calm nerves over virus impact

    * Fed cuts interest rates by 50 bps
    * Financials in Singapore, Thailand drop
    * Indonesia up on hopes of more stimulus 

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
slipped on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street as a surprise rate
cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve failed to allay fears over the
coronavirus's impact, while dismal China economic data dented
sentiment as well.
    The Fed lowered interest rates by 50 basis points on
Tuesday, its first out of cycle cut since 2008 at the height of
the financial crisis, in a bid to shield the world's largest
economy from the impact of the virus.
    The cut sent Wall Street sharply lower as investors worried
about whether putting more money in the economy would help
disrupted supply chains and weak consumer confidence.
    The move was upended by "worries about the depth and
duration of negative economic ripples from COVID-19 impact;
doubts about efficacy of rate cuts, and lack of details on
transmission/credit relief measures", Vishnu Varathan, a senior
economist at Mizuho Bank, said in a note.
    Further hurting sentiment, data showed China's services
sector had its worst month on record in February as new orders
plummeted to their lowest since the global financial crisis.

    Financials in Singapore and Thailand were the worst hit
after Fitch Ratings on Tuesday said banks in tourism-dependent
Thailand and China-exposed Singapore would be the most affected
in the region amid the virus outbreak.
    Thai stocks fell more than 1.2% after the previous
session's sharp gain, with Bangkok Bank Pcl and Bank of
Ayudhya Pcl shedding more than 1% each.
    Singapore shares declined as much as 0.6%, dragged by
top lenders including United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS
Group Holdings Ltd. 
    Philippine shares shed more than 1%, hurt by
consumers and industrials. Universal Robina Corp and JG
Summit Holdings Inc fell nearly 4% each. 
    Meanwhile, Indonesian equities gained as much as 2%
to hit their highest since Feb. 27, on expectation of a second
policy package to help repair supply chains that have been
disrupted by the spread of the virus.
    Malaysian shares climbed nearly 0.5%, helped by
financial and telecom stocks.
    Data showed January exports dropped 1.5% from a year
earlier, marginally better than the 1.6% fall forecast by
analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0337 GMT
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3017.34   3019.56         -0.07
 Bangkok                1366.93   1375.02         -0.59
 Manila                 6733.69   6790.54         -0.84
 Jakarta                5613.166  5518.628        1.71
 Kuala Lumpur           1483.79   1478.64         0.35
 Ho Chi Minh            886.2     890.61          -0.50
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3017.34   3222.83         -6.38
 Bangkok                1366.93   1579.84         -13.48
 Manila                 6733.69   7,815.26        -13.84
 Jakarta                5613.166  6,299.54        -10.90
 Kuala Lumpur           1483.79   1588.76         -6.61
 Ho Chi Minh            886.2     960.99          -7.78
 


 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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