May 20, 2020 / 10:24 AM / 9 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets end higher; Thailand gains most on interest rate cut

    * Thai shares hit highest closing level since March 6
    * Singapore snaps three-session rally
    * Malaysia rises for sixth straight session

    By Pranav A K
    May 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Wednesday, with Thailand leading the pack, after the
country's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a
record low to cushion the economy from the coronavirus impact. 
    Other markets in the region also clocked gains on locally
driven news, even as broader Asian stocks and currencies lacked
direction after scepticism over Moderna Inc's COVID-19
trial vaccine dented hopes of a quicker rebound from the crisis.
    The Thai benchmark rose 0.9% to its highest closing
level since March 6, as the central bank cut its benchmark
interest rate for the third time this year to help the region's
second-largest economy, which slipped into a recession in the
first quarter.
    Thailand's sixth-largest lender, TMB Bank jumped
7.2%, while financial services company Srisawad Corporation
 added 5.1%.
    Meanwhile, Malaysian equities extended gains into a
sixth straight session amid rising expectations of an impending
rate cut, as negative inflation coupled with signals from its
central bank of ample headroom to ease rates to raise
expectations.
    The country's consumer price index for April posted a
steeper-than-expected fall as the economy remained in deflation
in April for the second month in a row.
    "The economy, staring at a deep downturn ahead, is demanding
more policy accommodation. Cutting interest rates remains an
important option at the central bank's disposal, while there is
space to do so," said Prakash Sakpal, Asia economist at ING.
    Singapore equities, however, fell 0.8% and snapped a
three-session rally, as the city-state looks to restart its
economy with a phased easing of restrictions.
    "The market is cautious on the consequences from the opening
up of the economy," said Paul Chew, head of research at
Singapore brokerage Phillip Securities.
    But the restarting of the economy in Singapore does
imply that the market and economy has likely bottomed and a
gradual improvement in the equity market can be expected, he
added.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2561.94   2581.33         -0.75
 Bangkok                1322.2    1309.95         0.94
 Manila                 5581.96   5555.85         0.47
 Jakarta                4545.952  4548.656        -0.06
 Kuala Lumpur           1435.12   1423.97         0.78
 Ho Chi Minh            852.91    845.92          0.83
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2561.94   3222.83         -20.51
 Bangkok                1322.2    1579.84         -16.31
 Manila                 5581.96   7,815.26        -28.58
 Jakarta                4545.952  6,299.54        -27.84
 Kuala Lumpur           1435.12   1588.76         -9.67
 Ho Chi Minh            852.91    960.99          -11.25
 



 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
  
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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