March 11, 2020 / 9:57 AM / 22 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most drop on rising doubts over U.S. virus response; Vietnam falls 3%

    * Vietnam hits lowest since Oct. 2017
    * Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand fall over 1% each
    * Thailand cancels visa on arrivals for 18 countries

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 11 (Reuters) - Vietnam shares tumbled more than 3% on
Wednesday as coronavirus cases in the country spiked, while most
other Southeast Asian markets ended lower amid growing
scepticism about Washington's stimulus measures to limit the
economic impact of the outbreak.
    The White House and Congress negotiated measures overnight
to bolster the U.S. economy and the Bank of England cut interest
rates to stave off a recession triggered by the fast-spreading
    However, investors wondered whether the efforts would be
enough to cushion the economic impact of the virus, which has
disrupted businesses globally, while denting consumer
    "At present, we believe a global economic slowdown is in
play, with a growing chance that a global recession could
materialise if economies facing a major disruption do not
promptly implement fiscal stimulus to offset reduced demand,"
ANZ Research analysts said in a note.
    The Vietnam benchmark hit its lowest since October
2017, with carrier Vietjet Aviation JSC slumping 7%, as
the number of infected patients in the country surged following
the reintroduction of the virus via a flight from Europe.

    Thai equities slumped 1.7% as tourism stocks took a
beating after the country cancelled visa on arrival for 18
countries to limit virus spread.
    Meanwhile, Singapore stocks slipped 1.7% as well on
concerns of a recession in the trade-reliant economy after a
central bank survey showed that economists had more than halved
their growth forecasts this year.
    Fears over the epidemic remained as the number of people
infected topped 116,000 across the world, although China lowered
emergency response levels to the coronavirus as infections
    Indonesian equities fell 1.3% after the country reported its
first death from the virus and its central bank governor said
Bank Indonesia was likely to revise lower its outlook for 2020
economic growth at its next policy meeting.
    Bucking the trend, Malaysian benchmark gained about
1% in its best intraday session since June 2018.
    Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the cabinet had agreed
to set up an economic action council to tackle fall in oil
prices and virus outbreak.
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2783.72   2832.54         -1.72
 Bangkok                1249.89   1271.25         -1.68
 Manila                 6353.26   6318.38         0.55
 Jakarta                5154.105  5220.826        -1.28
 Kuala Lumpur           1443.83   1430.47         0.93
 Ho Chi Minh            811.35    837.5           -3.12
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2783.72   3222.83         -13.62
 Bangkok                1249.89   1579.84         -20.89
 Manila                 6353.26   7,815.26        -18.71
 Jakarta                5154.105  6,299.54        -18.18
 Kuala Lumpur           1443.83   1588.76         -9.12
 Ho Chi Minh            811.35    960.99          -15.57
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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