SE Asia Stocks-Weak; Thai index off lows ahead of cenbank rate decision
BANGKOK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell further on Wednesday as investors in Asia sought safe-haven assets amid a slump in oil prices, with the Thai benchmark recovering from losses earlier ahead of the central bank's decision on interest rates later in the day. Bangkok's SET index eased 0.3 percent to 1,281.89, bouncing off an intraday low of 1,275.41, as the Thai central banks's policy meeting took centre stage. Among interest rate sensitive stocks, property subindex was little changed while the bank subindex fell 1.1 percent. "The odds are still in favour of the central bank standing pat on its 1.5 percent policy rate," Phillip Securities said in a report. All 21 economists polled by Reuters predicted the Bank of Thailand would keep the one-day repurchase rate unchanged at 1.5 percent on expectations fiscal policies and government spending can support the economy. Singapore's Straits Times Index traded down 1.8 percent. It earlier slipped 2 percent to 2,528.44, the lowest since October 2011, after data late on Tuesday showed activity in the city-state's factories shrank for a seventh straight month in January amid weak global growth. Investors are expected to cut risk exposures ahead of the region's long weekend. "The falls could also be exaggerated as the volumes are also falling with attention distracted by the Lunar New Year long weekend coming up," said Singapore-based broker NRA Capital. Key indexes in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam hovered around one-week lows while Malaysia retreated further. Asian shares as measured by the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 1.9 percent. . U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0441 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2533.5 2579.23 -1.77 Bangkok 1280.47 1285.3 -0.38 Manila 6550.31 6642.45 -1.39 Jakarta 4567.127 4587.435 -0.44 Kuala Lumpur 1639.21 1653.18 -0.85 Ho Chi Minh 533.41 536.45 -0.57 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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