By Rushil Dutta
Feb 24 Southeast Asian stock markets, except
Indonesia, closed lower on Friday, with investor sentiment in
export-reliant Asian economies jittery as U.S. President Donald
Trump again accused China of being a currency manipulator.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump called China
the "grand champions" of currency manipulation, hours after his
new Treasury Secretary promised a more methodical approach to
analysing Beijing's foreign exchange practices.
Trump's comments weighed on the already weakened sentiment
across the region, where investors have chafed at the new U.S.
administration's protectionist stance.
"Protectionist policies will definitely have a negative
impact on the regional markets, especially on those
export-dependent on the U.S.," said Lexter Azurin, head of
equities research at Manila-based Unicapital Securities Inc.
In Singapore, shares ended 0.7 percent lower after
the city-state reported factory output fell 6 percent from
December, more than double the 2.6 percent contraction predicted
in a Reuters poll.
The index, however, posted a third straight weekly gain,
adding 0.3 percent.
Oil and gas, and consumer stocks took a hit, with Genting
Singapore dropping 2.4 percent and rig builder
Sembcorp Industries off 2.7 percent.
Philippine shares slipped for a second day, ending 1
percent lower, as realtors SM Investments and Ayala Land
shed 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
The index added 0.2 percent on the week.
Indonesia was the region's only gainer, finishing
0.2 percent higher. It rose 0.7 percent on the week.
Malaysia and Thailand dropped slightly,
while Vietnam lost 0.3 percent.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3117.03 3137.57 -0.65
Bangkok 1564.59 1567.32 -0.17
Manila 7258.99 7335.56 -1.04
Jakarta 5385.906 5372.748 0.24
Kuala Lumpur 1698.35 1704.48 -0.36
Ho Chi Minh 714.47 716.87 -0.33
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3117.03 2880.76 8.20
Bangkok 1564.59 1542.94 1.40
Manila 7258.99 6840.64 6.10
Jakarta 5385.906 5296.711 1.68
Kuala Lumpur 1698.35 1641.73 3.45
Ho Chi Minh 714.47 664.87 7.50
(Additional reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by