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SE Asia Stocks-End firmer as China halves tariffs on some U.S. goods

    * Further tariff cuts depend on bilateral developments,
China says
    * The Philippine index surges as c.bank commits to 50 bps
cuts 
    * Singapore index hits highest close since Jan. 27

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 6 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks closed firmer on
Thursday after China decided to slash tariffs on some U.S.
imports, offering relief to markets that were gripped by
slowdown worries amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    Broader Asian markets clocked in strong gains on news that
China - the region's largest trading partner - plans to halve
additional tariffs levied against 1,717 U.S. goods last year,
even as it reiterated its aim to eventually scrap all tariffs
that had been levied during the trade war.
    Markets were already beginning to emerge from safe-haven
assets and bet on the virus being a short-term shock, even while
the human toll continues to grow.
    Another 73 people on the Chinese mainland died from the
virus, the highest daily increase so far, bringing the total
death toll to 563, the country's health authority said on
Thursday.
    Trade-sensitive Singapore shares climbed nearly 1% to
hit their highest close since Jan. 27, with index heavyweights
Jardine Strategic Holdings and Singapore
Telecommunications Ltd ending up 1.3% and 1.5%,
respectively.
    Leading gains in the region, the Philippine index
ended 2.1% higher after the central bank governor said it was
prepared to loosen policy further to protect growth. 

    After the closing bell, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
trimmed its key interest rate to shield the economy from the
impact of the coronavirus. 
    Property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc, the top
percentage gainer in the Philippine index, closed nearly 6%
firmer.
    Elsewhere, Malaysian equities climbed more than 1%
as a rally in palm oil prices boosted shares of the edible oil
producers, which have a heavy weightage on the benchmark.
    Sime Darby Plantation, the world's largest oil
palm planter by land size, ended up nearly 1%.
    Indonesian shares, which rose up to 0.6% earlier in
the day, pared gains after the country's tourism minister
flagged a possible $4 billion hit in tourism-related earnings if
travel from China is disrupted for the whole year due to the
virus outbreak.
    Meanwhile, Thai equities gained marginally to end a
tick higher after the central bank signalled more room to help
economy if necessary, a day after cutting the benchmark policy
rate to a record low.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3231.55   3200.13         0.98
 Bangkok                1535.79   1534.14         0.11
 Manila                 7506.51   7352.85         2.09
 Jakarta                5987.145  5978.51         0.14
 Kuala Lumpur           1552.77   1536.79         1.04
 Ho Chi Minh            938.54    925.91          1.36
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3231.55   3222.83         0.27
 Bangkok                1535.79   1579.84         -2.79
 Manila                 7506.51   7,815.26        -3.95
 Jakarta                5987.145  6,299.54        -4.96
 Kuala Lumpur           1552.77   1588.76         -2.27
 Ho Chi Minh            938.54    960.99          -2.34
 
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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