November 19, 2019 / 4:07 AM / in 19 days

SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia falls as new palm oil rules set to kick in; others edge lower

    * Lack of detail about trade talk progress weighs on
sentiment
    * Malaysian palm oil exports to meet EU standards by 2021
    * Singapore falls to near 3-week low, Jardine Matheson down

    By Arundhati Dutta
    Nov 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell
on Tuesday as lack of significant progress in U.S.-China trade
talks kept investors on the edge, while Malaysia slipped after
the government announced new food safety standards for its vital
palm oil industry. 
    Markets digested mixed news about the trade negotiations
overnight, after CNBC reported the mood in Beijing was
pessimistic about the prospects of sealing an
agreement.
    However, a new extension allowing U.S. companies to continue
doing business with China's Huawei Technologies          was
announced, offering some hope that the move may improve
relations between the two countries. 
    "The trade-talks are starting to look more like an iceberg,
and not a lighthouse," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for
Asia Pacific at OANDA said in a note.
    The closer markets were getting to the looming Dec. 15
deadline, when a new set of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports will
kick in if a deal is not met, the more lonely equity markets are
starting to look, he added.
    Leading declines, Singapore markets slid 0.7% to a
near 3-week low. A near 4% drop in conglomerate Jardine Matheson
Holdings dragged the index lower, while land developer
City Developments shed 1.4%, also adding pressure.
    Malaysian stocks tumbled nearly 0.6% after a
minister said the government will enforce regulations to ensure
that by 2021 its palm oil meets new food safety standards under
consideration by the European Union.
    Adding to woes, Malaysian officials said that the Malaysian
palm oil industry is facing "significant challenges" in
complying with certain sustainability standards, which includes
protecting workers' rights and the environment, by next year.

    Malaysia is the second-biggest producer and exporter of palm
oil after Indonesia and its economy is heavily reliant on income
from the palm oil export business.
    Palm oil cultivators Kuala Lumpur Kepong and IOI
Corp shed 0.9% and 0.2% respectively, while PPB group
 lost 0.9%.
    Bucking the trend, Indonesian shares climbed 0.2%,
underpinned by gains in financials with sector heavyweight PT
Bank Central Asia adding 0.6%. 
    Thai and Philippines markets remained tepid,
barely moving in early trade, while Vietnam stocks crept
marginally higher.
    

    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0342 GMT 
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3235.78   3258.66         -0.70
 Bangkok                1606.69   1608            -0.08
 Manila                 7884.61   7880.94         0.05
 Jakarta                6134.355  6122.625        0.19
 Kuala Lumpur           1599.24   1604.36         -0.32
 Ho Chi Minh            1005.19   1002.91         0.23
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3235.78   3068.76         5.44
 Bangkok                1606.69   1563.88         2.74
 Manila                 7884.61   7,466.02        5.61
 Jakarta                6134.355  6,194.50        -0.97
 Kuala Lumpur           1599.24   1690.58         -5.40
 Ho Chi Minh            1005.19   892.54          12.62
 

 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
  
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