February 5, 2020 / 10:01 AM / 22 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise as virus fears spur rate-cut hopes in region

    * Thai c.bank cuts policy rate by 25 bps
    * Policy easing steps on cards for Philippines too
    * Indonesia reports slower-than-expected Q4 GDP growth 

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 5 (Reuters) - Hopes of policy-easing measures led
Philippines and Singapore shares to end over 1% higher on
Wednesday, while Thai stocks gained after the country's central
bank unexpectedly cut its policy rate amid the coronavirus
epidemic.
    Singapore stocks climbed nearly 1.4% to close at
their highest since Jan. 27, after the central bank signalled
there was room for monetary easing via a weaker currency within
the current policy framework, to support an economy sapped by
the virus outbreak.
    Although the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said its
monetary policy stance was unchanged, ANZ Research analysts said
the "the message is clear. MAS is comfortable, and indeed
seemingly welcomes, a weaker exchange rate in light of the
economic impact from the 2019-nCoV outbreak".
    "By making today's comments, they have in effect delivered a
de-facto easing via the market", ANZ added in the note.
    Real estate stocks buoyed the index, with Ascendas Real
Investment Trust and UOL Group Ltd gaining over 3%
each.
    The Philippines index closed 1.7% higher, with index
heavyweight GT Capital Holdings Inc jumping about 5%.
    Data showed January inflation was at its highest in eight
months, but the outcome was still within the Philippines 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 said.
    The Thai benchmark index inched up about 1% after
the country's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25
basis points in an unexpected move, its third reduction in six
months, taking it to a record low of 1.0%.
    Muangthai Capital PCL and Robinson PCL
were up over 3% each.
    Meanwhile, Indonesian shares gained nearly 1% after
data showed that economic growth in the fourth quarter slowed to
its weakest pace in three years, leading to hopes of further
rate cuts to shield the economy.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3200.13  3156.57         1.38
 Bangkok                1534.14  1519.38         0.97
 Manila                 7352.85  7226.9          1.74
 Jakarta                5978.51  5922.339        0.95
 Kuala Lumpur           1536.79  1535.8          0.06
 Ho Chi Minh            925.91   929.09          -0.34
                                                 
 Change so far in 2020                           
 Market                 Current  End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3200.13  3222.83         -0.70
 Bangkok                1534.14  1579.84         -2.89
 Manila                 7352.85  7,815.26        -5.92
 Jakarta                5978.51  6,299.54        -5.10
 Kuala Lumpur           1536.79  1588.76         -3.27
 Ho Chi Minh            925.91   960.99          -3.65
 
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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