May 10, 2019 / 4:48 AM / 10 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia falls most, others muted as Trump's China tariff kicks in

    * Trump's tariffs come into force 
    * Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia down

    By Nikhil Subba
    May 10 (Reuters) - Indonesian stocks fell the most after
hopes of an imminent interest rate cut dimmed, with most others
in Southeast Asia remaining subdued on Friday, as U.S. tariffs
on Chinese imports kicked in while the two nations engage in
crucial talks to rescue a trade deal. 
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he believed it
was possible to reach a deal this week after he received a
"beautiful letter" from Chinese President Xi Jinping which
called for the two nations to work together to reach a possible
agreement.
    However, Xi's overtures failed to avert U.S. levies, as
Trump's tariff increase to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of
Chinese goods took effect on Friday, ratcheting up tensions
between the United States and China. China has vowed to
retaliate.
    "Most of the concerns related to the U.S.-China trade war
have been largely factored in for now. Markets are trying to
figure out what the new development from the U.S. would be,"
said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
    Singapore's Straits Times index rose 0.1%, boosted by
financial stocks. The index has fallen 3% since Monday, and is
set for its worst week since Oct. 12, 2018.
    DBS Group, the largest lender in Southeast Asia,
slipped about 0.9%, while United Overseas Bank fell
1.3%.
    Vietnamese stocks inched up 0.3%, buoyed by
financials and energy stocks. The index is poised to have its
worst week since December 2018.
    Malaysian stocks shed 0.3%, while Indonesia
fell 0.3%, dragged by basic materials and financials.
    Indonesia's current account deficit narrowed in
January-March to the smallest in a year, helping the country to
post a balance of payments surplus, but some economists say this
would not trigger an interest rate cut by the central bank.

    The Indonesian market is also a little concerned that
President Joko Widodo might have to spend more time on politics
than reforming policies, Shim said.
    The incumbent president won an April 17 election based on
sample counts of votes by private pollsters, but official
results are due on May 22.
    Philippine stocks fell 0.2%, led by energy stocks.
The benchmark is set for its biggest weekly loss since March 1.
    The archipelago's central bank on Thursday cut its benchmark
interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.50 percent on
Thursday to support economic growth, which faltered in the first
quarter.


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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0350 GMT

  
  Market          Current    Previous  Pct Move
                             close     
  Singapore       3273.74    3269.7    0.12
  Bangkok         1641.31    1646.8    -0.33
  Manila          7740.09    7755.62   -0.20
  Jakarta         6178.132   6198.804  -0.33
  Kuala Lumpur    1613.61    1618.53   -0.30
 Ho Chi Minh      949.44     947.01    0.26
                                       
  Change on year                       
  Market          Current    End 2018  Pct Move
  Singapore       3273.74    3068.76   6.68
  Bangkok         1641.31    1563.88   4.95
  Manila          7740.09    7466.02   3.67
  Jakarta         6178.132   6194.498  -0.26
  Kuala Lumpur    1613.61    1690.58   -4.55
  Ho Chi Minh     949.44     892.54    6.38
 
    

 (Reporting by Nikhil Subba; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)
  
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