September 26, 2018 / 3:58 AM / 7 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most climb as trade war fears take a back seat, Philippines extends fall

    * Most gain as trade war fears abate
    * Singapore climbs for sixth straight session
    * Philippines declines ahead of central bank rate decision

    By Devika Syamnath
    Sept 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets took
a breather from recent trade war fears to inch up on Wednesday
in line with wider Asian peers, though the Philippines
continued to fall ahead of its central bank policy meeting on
    Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting takes centre
stage on the global platform, with a widely expected rate hike
to be announced later in the day.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 gained 0.4 percent.
    Singapore stocks rallied for a sixth straight
session, up as much as 0.7 percent, with heavyweights like
United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd
 advancing 1.7 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
    The city-state's August industrial production data is due
later in the day.
    Indonesian shares climbed as much as 0.4 percent,
with consumer stocks aiding most of the rise. 
    Heavyweight Astra International Tbk added as much
as 2.1 percent and consumer goods maker Unilever Indonesia
 rose 1.3 percent.
    "Indonesia's central bank begins their two-day-long policy
meeting today with our expectation that the benchmark rate will
be increased by 50 bps," said OCBC in a note to clients.
    Thai stocks advanced as much as 0.4 percent with
energy and consumer staples leading.
    Oil and gas company PTT PCL was the top boost to
the benchmark, having climbed up to 0.9 percent to its best
level in over 4 months.
    Bucking the regional trend, Philippine shares lost up
to 0.9 percent, with financials and industrial stocks leading
the fall.
    SM Investments declined up to 1.6 percent while BDO
Unibank tracked over 2 percent lower.
    "The sell-off in Philippine equities is due to a number a
factors including expectations of higher inflation, the expected
rate hike by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), and
macroeconomic factors such as the impact of the trade war and
higher oil prices, " said Rachelle C. Cruz, analyst at
Manila-based AP Securities.
    The Philippine central bank is widely expected to raise its
key interest rate by another 50 basis points on Thursday, in a
bid to tamp down inflationary pressures, which have been
steadily rising since January due to higher taxes, a weak peso,
and rising food and fuel costs.
    "Till the peso's fall is tempered, we might not see any big
rally in Philippine equities," added Cruz.
    The finance minister of the Philippines said on Tuesday the
main concern for him was the recent rise in oil prices, a view
echoed by Cruz who said oil's recent rally adds to pressure on
Philippines, a net importer of oil.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on day                             
 Market          Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore       3255.29   3236.08         0.59
 Bangkok         1751.93   1747.99         0.23
 Manila          7274      7332.17         -0.79
 Jakarta         5900.327  5874.299        0.44
 Kuala Lumpur    1795.86   1794.47         0.08
 Ho Chi Minh     1011.01   1010.74         0.03
 Change on year                            
 Market          Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore       3255.29   3402.92         -4.34
 Bangkok         1751.93   1753.71         -0.10
 Manila          7274      8558.42         -15.01
 Jakarta         5900.327  6355.654        -7.16
 Kuala Lumpur    1795.86   1796.81         -0.05
 Ho Chi Minh     1011.01   984.24          2.72
 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil
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