SE Asia Stocks-Most fall; Thai small business measures lend support
BANGKOK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets mostly fell on Tuesday as a slump in China's August imports raised fears of a more severe slowdown in the world's second biggest economy, while the Thai benchmark hit a near one-week low as large-cap banks traded ex-dividend. China's imports in August shrank for a 10th consecutive month, falling 13.8 percent, far more than the 8.2 percent expected in a Reuters poll, after an 8.1 percent decline in July, reflecting both lower global commodity prices and persistently sluggish demand at home. The Thai key SET index was down 0.6 percent at 1,362.77, the lowest since Sept. 2. Banking shares were mixed, with Bangkok Bank and Kasikornbank among the decliners. Krung Thai Bank rose on expectations the state-run lender would benefit from government measures to help small and medium businesses. Brokers however said a new batch of stimulus measures would only be a short-term boost. "In our view, these measures would only be a short-term help to keep SMEs afloat and may not yet provide a significant boost to the overall economy," said strategists at broker Phillip Securities. Indexes in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines all extended their slides for a third straight day. Bucking the trend, Vietnam's key stock index rose 1.09 percent after a slight correction in the previous session, with most big-caps gaining, led by banks. Asian stocks rose on Tuesday after a six-day losing streak and the dollar firmed against the safe-haven Japanese yen, but gains were capped on China's August import data. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0606 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2831.70 2852.41 -0.73 Kuala Lumpur 1579.38 1582.85 -0.22 Bangkok 1362.77 1371.40 -0.63 Jakarta 4283.17 4301.37 -0.42 Manila 6864.96 6926.82 -0.89 Ho Chi Minh 560.99 554.93 +1.09 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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