SE Asia Stocks-Brexit fears, weak Chinese data pull markets down
By Anusha Ravindranath June 13 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks closed lower on Monday, as risk appetite took a hit on concerns over Britain's likely exit from the European Union and on disappointing Chinese data, prompting investors to flock to safe havens such as gold and the yen. The safe-haven yen strengthened across the board, hitting a three-year high against both the euro and sterling, while gold hit 4-week highs on Monday. Investors were also wary ahead of meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan later this week. All are expected to hold monetary policy steady against a backdrop of caution heightened by the global impact of a possible Brexit. Fears Britain is on the verge of voting to leave the European Union next week spread through global financial markets, sending Asian and European shares sharply lower and the pound to an eight-week low. "The cross-Atlantic equity bear markets have somehow translated into wider Asia as well, and have dampened the overall global risk appetite," said Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist with Singapore-based Mizuho Bank Ltd, adding markets will now focus on the number of Fed rate increases this year. "Currently, it is about 2 more rate hikes for this year. Whether or not it comes through will determine the risk appetite going forward. For now, I think markets would be rather safe than sorry." Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, an analyst with Religare Capital Markets, however said weak Chinese data led Southeast Asian shares lower. "I don't think it is linked to the Brexit, there is a possibility that people are worried about Chinese situation impinging on Southeast Asian growth, that slowdown in China will affect Southeast Asia." Growth in China's fixed-asset investment slipped below 10 percent for the first time since 2000 in January-May as a boost from record credit growth seems to be quickly fading, putting expectations of further stimulus back on the table. Singapore shares closed more than 1 percent lower, dragged down by energy stocks, as global oil prices fell on Monday. Keppel Corp fell 3.4 percent, while Sembcorp Industries lost 1.7 percent. Vietnam closed down nearly 1 percent, while Thai stocks fell half a percent. Malaysia and Indonesia also ended in negative territory, while the Philippine index snapped two days of losses to close up 0.6 pct. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2785.43 2822.97 -1.33 Bangkok 1421.86 1429.21 -0.51 Manila 7554.4 7509.94 +0.59 Jakarta 4807.226 4848.056 -0.84 Kuala Lumpur 1629.77 1641.22 -0.70 Ho Chi Minh 623.58 629.84 -0.99 Change on year Market Current End-2015 Pct Move Singapore 2785.43 2882.73 -3.38 Bangkok 1421.86 1288.02 10.39 Manila 7554.4 6952.08 8.66 Jakarta 4807.226 4593.008 4.66 Kuala Lumpur 1629.77 1692.51 -3.71 Ho Chi Minh 623.58 579.03 7.69 (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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