SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Thailand lead declines on China selldown
BANGKOK, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday along with Asian stocks after China opted to keep guiding the yuan sharply lower, with energy shares leading the pack due to a tumble in global oil prices. Losses in top energy-related firms such as Thailand's PTT and Singapore's Keppel Corp helped drag Bangkok's SET index and the city-state's Straits Times Index over 2 percent lower at one point. Asian stocks, measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, dropped 2 percent. Shanghai shares tanked more than 7 percent and trading was halted as the fall triggered a circuit breaker. Rising risk aversion over China overshadowed positive economic data in the region, including a further recovery in Thai consumer confidence in December and Philippine budget surplus in November. "The selling was mainly due to the weak sentiment in China. The Thai stock market saw relatively moderate trading volumes this morning because of more short sellers playing the bear market," said an equity dealer with BT Securities in Bangkok. The Philippine index hovered near a more than three-week low, Malaysia retreated after two days of gains and Vietnam hit a two-week low. Stocks in Indonesia reversed the rally on Wednesday. It hit a more than two-month high the day before as easing inflation data underscored the prospect of low interest rates. Broker Bahana Securities said it expected a 25 basis point cut in Bank Indonesia's policy rate in the first quarter of 2016 for a total decline of 75 basis points to 6.75 percent for 2016. "This would be one of the biggest rate cut in the region in 2016," said Harry Su, head of corporate strategy and research, in a report. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0420 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2745.90 2804.27 -2.09 Kuala Lumpur 1661.55 1667.97 -0.38 Bangkok 1240.22 1260.04 -1.57 Jakarta 4564.86 4608.98 -0.96 Manila 6716.70 6813.90 -1.43 Ho Chi Minh 569.69 574.57 -0.85 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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