By Christina Martin
Feb 8 Most Southeast Asian stock markets traded
lower on Wednesday on a sharp drop in oil prices, while Thai
shares edged up ahead of a central bank meeting on interest
Asian shares also fell from four-month highs as investor
confidence was hurt by ongoing political and economic
uncertainty in the United States and Europe.
"The yen recovered and bounced back while crude oil
continued to weaken and regional equities took their cue from
those two movements of the commodities," said Manny Cruz, chief
strategist at Asiasec Equities Inc.
Oil prices fell to a two-week low on Wednesday, extending
losses, as a massive increase in U.S. fuel inventories and a
slump in Chinese demand implied that global crude markets remain
oversupplied despite OPEC-led efforts to cut output.
"The weakness in crude oil can also be an indication that
the global economy may not be doing well under the Trump
administration, considering his protectionist approach," Cruz
However, the Thai index managed a slight rise, with
gains spread across sectors, as investors awaited the central
bank's rate decision later in the day.
Thailand's central bank is expected to leave its already-low
benchmark interest rate unchanged, after it last cut rates in
April 2015, a Reuters poll indicated.
Philippine shares headed for a second consecutive
session of losses, slipping 0.4 percent, with real estate,
consumer staples and financials pulling the index down.
SM Prime Holdings, Metropolitan Bank and
Universal Robina Corp were among the worst performers
on the index.
A Reuters poll showed that inflation in January, seen at its
highest in over two years, is not expected to impact the central
bank's policy decision due on Thursday.
Singapore shares, which gained in the last two
sessions, fell 0.3 percent, dragged down by telecoms, financials
and real estate stocks.
Singapore Telecommunications, the biggest loser on
the index, lost over 1 percent while City Development
fell as much as 1.8 percent, its biggest percentage loss in two
Indonesian shares were set for their biggest
percentage loss in over two weeks, down as much as 0.4 percent.
Vietnam and Malaysia were largely flat.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change at 0425 GMT
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3060.14 3071.64 -0.37
Bangkok 1588.27 1582.52 0.36
Manila 7230.25 7262.64 -0.45
Jakarta 5357.593 5381.475 -0.44
Kuala Lumpur 1688.12 1688.84 -0.04
Ho Chi Minh 702.03 701.91 0.02
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3060.14 2880.76 6.23
Bangkok 1588.27 1542.94 2.94
Manila 7230.25 6840.64 5.70
Jakarta 5357.593 5296.711 1.15
Kuala Lumpur 1688.12 1641.73 2.83
Ho Chi Minh 702.03 664.87 5.59
(Reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Sunil Nair)