May 31, 2018 / 10:32 AM / 5 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets gain as Italy concerns wane

    * Indonesian, Singapore shares decline 0.5 pct each
    * All markets fall for month, Vietnam biggest loser  
    * Malaysia down 6.9 pct in May, biggest since Oct 2008

    By Nicole Pinto
    May 31 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
higher on Thursday, with Vietnam gaining nearly 2.5 percent, as
the political turmoil in Italy that roiled global financial
markets showed signs of easing.
    A degree of calm returned with the two anti-establishment
parties renewing efforts to form a coalition government, rather
than force Italy into holding elections for the second time this
year, which could have stoked fears of such a vote effectively
being a referendum on its euro membership.
    Two polls showed between 60-72 percent of Italians wanted
the country to remain part of the euro, while 23-24 percent
would choose to drop the common currency.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 gained 0.9 percent after slumping to its weakest
since early April on Wednesday.
    Vietnam shares closed 2.4 percent higher with Saigon
Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp gaining 4.8 percent and
Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam
 climbing 4 percent. 
    The benchmark stock index fell 7.5 percent this month, in
its second consecutive monthly drop.  
    Malaysian shares closed 1.2 percent higher, but fell
6.9 percent for the month in their biggest monthly drop since
October 2008.
    Tenaga Nasional Bhd rose 1.8 percent and DiGi.Com
Bhd climbed 5.2 percent.
    Indonesian shares closed 0.5 percent lower with
Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Perusahaan Perseroan PT
 declining 2.2 percent and United Tractors Tbk PT
 shedding 4.7 percent.
    The central bank expects the rupiah's exchange rate to
average in a range of 13,800 to 14,100 per dollar for all of
2018 and 2019, new Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Thursday.

    This came a day after the central bank raised its benchmark
interest rate for the second time in two weeks to stem capital
outflows and support the fragile rupiah. 
    So far in 2018, the rupiah's average exchange rate has been
13,713 to the dollar, according to Bank Indonesia (BI) data.
    Singapore shares erased gains towards the end of the
session and closed 0.5 percent lower. Jardine Matheson Holdings
 fell 2.9 percent, while United Overseas Bank Ltd
 was down 2.8 percent.
    For the month, Indonesian shares dropped 0.2 percent, in
their fourth straight monthly drop, while Singapore fell over
0.5 percent.     
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change on day
 STOCK MARKETS                                
                    Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3428.18   3443.95         -0.46
 Bangkok            1726.97   1725.14         0.11
 Manila             7497.17   7470.14         0.36
 Jakarta            5983.587  6011.055        -0.46
 Kuala Lumpur       1740.62   1719.28         1.24
 Ho Chi Minh        971.25    948.5           2.40
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3428.18   3402.92         0.74
 Bangkok            1726.97   1753.71         -1.52
 Manila             7497.17   8558.42         -12.40
 Jakarta            5983.587  6355.654        -5.85
 Kuala Lumpur       1740.62   1796.81         -3.13
 Ho Chi Minh        971.25    984.24          -1.32
 

 (Reporting by Nicole Pinto; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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