March 29, 2019 / 10:20 AM / 6 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on trade deal hopes; S'pore logs first quarterly gain in four

    * Thai Feb exports fall 1.7 pct
    * S'pore cbank likely to end tightening run - poll
    * Philippine shares post third straight qtrly gains

    By Shanima A
    March 29 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
edged higher on Friday, in line with broader Asia, on hopes of
progress in trade talks between the world's two largest
economies, while Singapore index logged its best quarter since
December 2017.
    Optimism revolved around progress in the U.S.-China trade
talks, with reports saying Beijing's proposals on a range of
issues went further than before, including those on forced
technology transfer.
    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the United
States may drop some tariffs if a deal is reached while keeping
others in place to ensure Beijing's compliance.
    The development lifted the index of broader Asian shares
outside Japan by 0.75 percent.           
    Singapore shares added 0.3 percent to touch highest
in more than a week. The index snapped its three straight
quarterly declines and gained 4.7 percent in the last three
    A Reuters poll forecast Singapore's central bank keeping its
monetary policy stance on hold in the first of its semi-annual
meetings next month, after two tightening moves last year.

    Philippines stocks added 0.6 percent, though on the
week they declined 1.2 percent. The benchmark also clocked its
third straight quarterly gain, rising 6.9 percent.
    Thai shares ended 0.3 percent higher on the day and
4.8 percent during the quarter.
    Thailand's annual headline inflation rate in March is
expected to have picked up from the previous month, but may stay
below the central bank's target range for a fifth straight
    Exports in February dropped 1.7 percent year-on-year, after
declining 4.7 percent in January.
    Indonesian shares fell 0.2 percent, hurt by declines
in consumer staples stocks. Animal feeds maker Charoen Pokphand
Indonesia lost 10.5 percent.
    Indonesia's central bank deputy governor, Dody Budi Waluyo,
said the apex bank will maintain a tight monetary stance as it
focuses on the stability. Bank Indonesia hiked its benchmark
rate six times last year, by a total of 175 basis
    Vietnam shares erased gains earlier in the day and
ended 0.23 percent lower after data showed the country's economy
grew at a slower pace in the first quarter as weakening global
demand for smartphones weighed on exports.
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3212.88   3203.58         0.29
 Bangkok                1638.65   1634.25         0.27
 Manila                 7920.93   7876.4          0.57
 Jakarta                6468.755  6480.788        -0.19
 Kuala Lumpur           1643.63   1641.33         0.14
 Ho Chi Minh            980.76    982.98          -0.23
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3212.88   3068.76         4.70
 Bangkok                1638.65   1563.88         4.78
 Manila                 7920.93   7,466.02        6.09
 Jakarta                6468.755  6,194.50        4.43
 Kuala Lumpur           1643.63   1690.58         -2.78
 Ho Chi Minh            980.76    892.54          9.88
 (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar
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