April 13, 2017 / 5:48 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Muted; S'pore falls as cbank warns of growth, policy risks

    April 13 (Reuters) - Singapore shares fell on Thursday as
the central bank cautioned about the global economic growth,
signaling a reluctance to tighten policy anytime soon, with
trade subdued across Southeast Asia ahead of the long
    The Monetary Authority of Singapore held policy steady as
expected, saying a "neutral" stance will be needed for an
extended period to support an economy that contracted in the
first quarter.
    The trade-reliant economy contracted 1.9 percent in the
first quarter from the previous three months on an annualised
basis, data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed.
    The central bank said "downside risks remain, alongside
significant policy uncertainty," underscoring worries about the
outlook in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's
protectionist threats, Brexit and geopolitical risks in the
Middle East and North Korea.
    Singapore shares fell as much as 0.8 percent, with
financials accounting for more than half the losses. 
    United Overseas Bank Ltd shed 1.2 percent. 
    Global markets remained under pressure with escalating fears
of a new weapon test by North Korea, as a U.S. carrier group
sails towards the area and after Trump said the dollar "was
getting too strong," and he would like to see interest rates
stay low.
    Escalating geopolitical tensions will keep investors
side-lined dampening sentiment in broader markets, said Taye
Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas in Jakarta.
    "Likely, we are going to see a little bit of volatility in
terms of how things unfold. Meanwhile, the clearest factor we
are seeing is manufacturing activity, which is starting to gain
traction in China," Shim added.
    China's economic picture brightened as it reported
forecast-beating trade growth in March and as Trump softened his
anti-China rhetoric in an abrupt policy shift.
    China's exports rose at the fastest pace in a little more
than two years in March, climbing 16.4 percent from a year
    Malaysian shares fell as much as 0.5 percent,
clocking its biggest intraday percentage drop in nearly two
weeks, dragged by financials and consumer staples.
    CIMB Group Holdings Bhd lost 1.8 percent, while
Genting Bhd was down 1.8 percent.
    Vietnam rose 0.2 percent, helped by real estate
stocks, with Vingroup JSC adding 1.6 percent.
    Markets in Thailand and Philippines were
closed for a public holiday.

    For Asian Companies click;  


  Market             Current        Prev close    Pct Move
  Singapore          3166.93        3186.01       -0.60
  Jakarta            5640.428       5644.155      -0.07
  Kuala Lumpur       1738.53        1744.08       -0.32
  Ho Chi Minh        727.31         725.58        0.24
  Change on year                                  
  Market             Current        End 2016      Pct Move
  Singapore          3166.93        2880.76       9.93
  Jakarta            5640.428       5296.711      6.49
  Kuala Lumpur       1738.53        1641.73       5.90
  Ho Chi Minh        727.31         664.87        9.4

 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha
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