February 5, 2020 / 5:05 AM / 22 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines, Singapore gain on rate cut hopes

    * MAS says policy stance unchanged, but signals room for
easing
    * Thai c.bank decision due later in the day
    * Philippine Jan inflation rises, but rate cut still likely
    * Indonesia Q4 GDP growth rate slower-than-expected

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 5 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose on Wednesday,
boosted by expectations of an interest rate cut despite a
surprise jump in January inflation, while Singapore shares
gained after its central bank said it had room to ease policy if
required.
    The Philippine index gained more than 1.3%, with
index heavyweights San Miguel Corp and GT Capital
Holdings Inc jumping about 5% and 3%, respectively.  
    Data showed January inflation was at its highest in eight
months, but the outcome was still within the Philippine central
bank's comfort range and supported views that it will likely cut
rates at its meeting on Thursday.
    "Given the bleak outlook for global growth and dissipating
threats to the inflation outlook, BSP (Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas) will likely keep its foot on the easing pedal to help
bolster sagging growth momentum", Nicholas Mapa, senior
economist at ING for Philippines said.
    Singapore stocks rose 0.6%, buoyed by financials and
industrials, after the central bank signalled it had room for
easing if required, amid an economy sapped by the virus
outbreak.
    Jardine Strategic Holdings and UOL Group Ltd
 gained about 2% each.
    Most other regional markets posted minor gains as hopes rose
for more stimulus measures by China to limit the economic impact
due to a virus outbreak that has killed nearly 500 people.

    China is readying more measures to stabilize its economy,
which includes an additional trimming of some key lending rates
in the coming weeks along with the hundreds of billions of
dollars it has already infused in the financial system.

    Thai equities also rose marginally ahead of a
central bank meeting later in the day. 
    The Bank of Thailand is largely expected to keep rates on
hold, but "odds of a preemptive cut are rising" in light of the
impact of the virus on tourism earnings, DBS Economics &
Strategy analysts said in a note.
    Indonesian shares, which rose as much as 0.8%
earlier in the day, pared some gains after data showed its
economy grew at a slower-than-expected rate in the final quarter
of 2019.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0327 GMT
 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3173.75  3156.57         0.54
 Bangkok                1520.82  1519.38         0.09
 Manila                 7317.05  7226.9          1.25
 Jakarta                5955.41  5922.339        0.56
 Kuala Lumpur           1533.34  1535.8          -0.16
 Ho Chi Minh            926.26   929.09          -0.30
                                                 
 Change so far in 2020                           
 Market                 Current  End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3173.75  3222.83         -1.52
 Bangkok                1520.82  1579.84         -3.74
 Manila                 7317.05  7,815.26        -6.37
 Jakarta                5955.41  6,299.54        -5.46
 Kuala Lumpur           1533.34  1588.76         -3.49
 Ho Chi Minh            926.26   960.99          -3.61
 
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; editing by Uttaresh.V)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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