SE Asia Stocks-Mostly up; Singapore index climbs to over four-month high
JAKARTA, April 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, with the Singapore index extending its rally after a surprise policy easing by the city-state's central bank. Singapore's Strait Times Index rose 0.8 percent to its highest closing since Nov 24 with banking stocks boosting the overall market. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unexpectedly eased policy on Thursday after growth stalled in the first quarter and as slackening global demand darkened the outlook for the trade-dependent economy, sending the local dollar tumbling to its worst loss in eight months. Singapore's three heavyweight banks were the top gainers with shares of United Overseas Bank Ltd rising 2.7 percent to close at their highest since Dec. 2, while Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd closed at its highest in five weeks. "On the one hand some currency weakness helps competitiveness for exporters, but it will also likely put upward pressure on domestic rates - bad for domestic consumption and property, but potentially good for bank margins," said Mixo Das, Nomura's Southeast Asia equity strategist. "In addition, the policy move signals weaker economic performance and discourages inward capital flows." Philippine stocks rose 0.2 percent, while Vietnam rose 0.6 percent. Bucking the trend, Indonesia fell 0.8 percent ahead of trade data announcement on Friday and the central bank's announcement of change in policy rate. Indonesia's central bank will announce on Friday a change to its benchmark policy rate, that is likely to result in the seven-day reverse repo replacing the current reference rate. Thailand is closed for the Songkran Festival. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev close Pct move Singapore 2913.93 2890.41 0.81 Kuala Lumpur 1723.78 1723.11 0.04 Bangkok 1385.42 1369.64 1.15 Jakarta 4814.85 4853.01 -0.79 Manila 7357.28 7341.00 0.22 Ho Chi Minh 581.4 578.02 0.58 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct move Singapore 2913.93 2882.73 1.08 Kuala Lumpur 1723.78 1692.51 1.85 Bangkok 1385.42 1288.02 7.56 Jakarta 4814.85 4593.008 4.83 Manila 7357.28 6952.08 5.83 Ho Chi Minh 581.4 579.03 0.41 (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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