SE Asia Stocks-Soft as speculation over China stimulus hits risk appetite
Aug 10 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were sluggish on Wednesday on subdued risk sentiment as Chinese policymakers appeared to have disparate opinions regarding the ideal easing measure required for stoking economic growth. Moderating consumer inflation in July gives room for China's central bank to loosen monetary policy if needed. Last week, a research office at China's top economic planner called for the central bank to cut interest rates and bank reserve requirements, but later removed the remarks in an updated statement posted on its website. Investors have been closely watching the country's bureaucracy for signs of policy dissent since May, when the People's Daily quoted an "authoritative person" warning of a financial crisis if the government relied too much on debt-fuelled stimulus to spur the economy. "Risk sentiments are not particularly strong. Further, China data is expected to be on the softer side and there isn't much of a policy relief story going on in China," said Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist at Mizuho Bank. China's industrial output, retail sales and urban investment figures for July will be announced on Friday. "PBOC (People's Bank of China) is quite coy to put in extra stimulus," Varathan said. Singapore gained 0.5 percent, driven by financials and industrials, with transport company Comfortdelgro Corp Ltd leading the gainers. Investors are also waiting for GDP data on Thursday, with year-on-year GDP growth expected to match the advance estimate of 2.2 percent, according to the median forecast in a Reuters survey. Indonesia edged lower, dragged down by financials and telecommunication services. Telkom Indonesia and Bank Mandiri TBK led the losers. Indonesia's President Joko Widodo is considering cutting the corporate tax rate to 17 pct to match Singapore, according to the cabinet secretary's website. Philippine stocks was relatively flat, shrugging off a drop in exports in June. Vietnam however rose 1.2 percent, led primarily by financials. Real estate operator Vingroup JSC and Vietinbank were the top gainers. Asian stocks hit a one-year high on Wednesday, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan up 0.35 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0531 GMT Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2883.74 2870.78 0.45 Bangkok 1550.37 1548.21 0.14 Manila 8048.29 8055.06 -0.08 Jakarta 5409.428 5440.293 -0.57 Kuala Lumpur 1672.69 1671.71 0.06 Ho Chi Minh 645.04 637.34 1.21 Change on year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2883.74 2882.73 0.04 Bangkok 1550.37 1288.02 20.37 Manila 8048.29 6952.08 15.77 Jakarta 5409.428 4593.008 17.78 Kuala Lumpur 1672.69 1692.51 -1.17 Ho Chi Minh 645.04 579.03 11.40 (Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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