SE Asia Stocks-Cautious ahead of cenbank decisions; Vietnam hits 1-mth low
By Anusha Ravindranath Aug 2 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday, with Vietnam leading the losses, as risk-averse investors took a pause ahead of major central bank decisions on interest rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) board will meet on Tuesday to judge if rates should be left at 1.75 percent or trimmed a quarter point to a record low, while the Thai central bank is expected to leave its policy rate unchanged, when the policy committee meets on Aug. 3, according to a Reuters poll. "There is some risk aversion in the markets ahead of the two central bank decisions," said Victor Felix, an analyst with AB Capital Securities Inc in Manila. Investors are largely expecting the Australian central bank to cut rates by 25 basis points, he said, adding that investors were cautious, especially after last week's BOJ stimulus package fell short of expectations. The Japanese central bank expanded stimulus by doubling purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF), yielding to pressure from the government and financial markets for bolder action. However, the decision failed to appease investors who were expecting a much heftier stimulus package. A slump in crude oil prices overnight also hit sentiment on Tuesday. Oil prices settled down nearly 4 percent on Monday on heightened worries of a crude glut despite peak summer fuel demand. Vietnam shares led the losses, sliding to their lowest in one month, dragged down by energy stocks. Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp was among the top losers. "Considering the market's movements, especially investors' cautious sentiment, in the coming sessions, the market is likely to remain in a cumulative correcting trend before forming a new price level," Vietcombank Securities said in a note. Thai shares hit a one-week low, led by energy stocks. Oil and gas explorer PTT Exploration and Production PCL dropped 2.5 percent. Singapore shares fell to a more than three-week low, weighed down by bluechips Singapore Airlines and DBS Group Holdings. Tracking modest falls on Wall Street, Asian shares edged lower with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.2 percent in early trading. STOCK MARKETS Change on 0417 GMT Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2863.85 2880.69 -0.58 Bangkok 1509.1 1512.62 -0.23 Manila 8061.96 8069.81 -0.10 Jakarta 5379.953 5361.576 0.34 Kuala Lumpur 1659.11 1665.23 -0.37 Ho Chi Minh 639.05 648.38 -1.44 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2863.85 2882.73 -0.65 Bangkok 1509.1 1288.02 17.16 Manila 8061.96 6952.08 15.96 Jakarta 5379.953 4593.008 17.13 Kuala Lumpur 1659.11 1692.51 -1.97 Ho Chi Minh 639.05 579.03 10.37 (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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