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SE Asia Stocks-Most markets rise as economies set to reopen; Philippines sole loser

    * Singapore cuts 2020 GDP forecast, unveils stimulus package
    * Philippines set to ease restrictions by June
    * Thailand hits highest close since early March

    By Arundhati Dutta
    May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
higher on Tuesday as further moves to ease the coronavirus
lockdowns and hopes of more stimulus from China boosted
sentiment, while the Philippines ended lower even though it
pared steep early losses.  
    Japan lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo, while major
European economies, including France and Spain, were also
returning to business.
    Biggest regional trading partner China aided sentiment after
its central bank promised to strengthen economic policy and push
for lower interest rates on loans.
    Leading gains in Southeast Asia, Indonesian equities
added 1.8%, with the financial sector contributing to nearly
half the index's gains. PT Bank Central Asia Tbk rose
4.3%. 
    In Singapore, markets looked past a third economic downgrade
for 2020 which signalled its deepest-ever recession, as the
city-state unveiled its fourth multi-billion dollar economic
stimulus package to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The benchmark index ended 1.4% higher, with
heavyweight Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd, up 8%, the
biggest gainer. 
    Thai stocks jumped 1.1%, and touched their highest
closing level since early March, helped by the industrial and
consumer discretionary sectors. 
    However, the Philippine index closed 0.8% lower,
after dropping more than 2% in early trade, amid expectations of
gradually easing lockdown restrictions by June. 
    Local media here
 reported that 14 of 17 mayors in Metro Manila are in favour of
downgrading quarantine restrictions in the National Capital
Region after May 31. 
    Investors were holding off on riskier assets, awaiting
updates on how business will be conducted after May, according
to analysts at Regina Capital. 
    Restaurant operator Jollibee Foods Corp, which shed
10.3%, was the top drag on the index after flagging lower sales
in the coming months in an earnings update on Friday.
    
    Vietnam closed up 1.2% while Malaysian markets
 were closed for a holiday. 
      
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
  STOCK MARKETS                                        
  Change on the                                        
 day                                          
  Market           Current       Previous     Pct Move
                                 close        
  Singapore        2530.3        2499.83      1.22
  Bangkok          1336.09       1320.98      1.14
  Manila           5496.83       5539.19      -0.76
  Jakarta          4626.799      4545.952     1.78
 Ho Chi Minh       869.13        859.04       1.17
                                              
  Change so far                               
 in 2020                                      
  Market           Current       End 2019     Pct Move
  Singapore        2530.3        3222.83      -21.49
  Bangkok          1336.09       1579.84      -15.43
  Manila           5496.83       7,815.26     -29.67
  Jakarta          4626.799      6,299.54     -26.55
  Ho Chi Minh      869.13        960.99       -9.56
 

 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
  
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