May 23, 2019 / 4:20 AM / 4 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most decline as tech war amplifies Sino-U.S. tension

    * Singapore hits over 4-mth low; April inflation data due 
    * Indonesia up 1.5%; post-election protesters disperse

    By Niyati Shetty
    May 23 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
declined on Thursday, amid continued Sino-U.S. trade tensions,
while an escalating technology cold war between the nations
piled on.  
    Reuters on Wednesday reported that the U.S. administration
is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video
surveillance firm Hikvision over the country's
treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.
    The bitter tariff dispute between the world's largest
economies intensified last week after the United States put
Huawei Technologies          on a trade blacklist, effectively
banning U.S. firms from doing business with the Chinese telecom
giant. 
    Adding to unlikelihood of a speedy closure to the tariff
spat, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said
it would be at least a month before the U.S. would enact
proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports.

    The Philippine bourse fell up to 0.7% as financial
and industrial stocks weighed on the main board.
    Conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc lost 3.3%, and
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co fell 2.6%.
    While risk sentiment had improved in the region during the
first few months of the year after Sino-U.S. tensions seemed to
be diminishing, the deadlock in trade talks since the start of
May has caused disarray in the markets.
    "Asian markets may see some modest erosion today, while
attempting to speculate on the endgame for U.S.-China trade
tensions," OCBC Bank said in a note.
    Asian economies continued to feel the repercussions of
slowing global growth, which was reflected in the dismal growth
data released by Singapore and Thailand earlier this week.

    Thai equities slipped 0.5%, hurt by energy and
materials sectors. PTT Global Chemical PCL and PTT
Exploration and Production PCL declined 2.8% and
1.2%, respectively.
    The Singapore index lost as much as 1%, hitting a
more than 4-month low, ahead of inflation data due later in the
day. 
    A Reuters poll showed the central bank's core inflation
measure likely rose 1.3% in April from a year earlier, down
slightly from the 1.4% rise in the prior month.
    Malaysian stocks fell up to 0.9%, a day after
markets returned from a holiday. Petronas Chemical Group Bhd
 dropped 5.9%. 
    The Indonesian index was the sole gainer, rising
1.5%, as calm returned to the streets of central Jakarta on
Thursday after a second night of clashes between security forces
and protesters angry over the outcome of last month's election.

    Earlier this week, the election commission had confirmed the
victory of incumbent President Joko Widodo over challenger,
ex-general Prabowo Subianto. 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0407 GMT
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3169.62   3183.14         -0.42
 Bangkok                1622.73   1626.91         -0.26
 Manila                 7772.7    7815.07         -0.54
 Jakarta                6027.918  5939.636        1.49
 Kuala Lumpur           1602.35   1603.74         -0.09
 Ho Chi Minh            980.36    983.78          -0.35
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3169.62   3068.76         3.29
 Bangkok                1622.73   1563.88         3.76
 Manila                 7772.7    7,466.02        4.11
 Jakarta                6027.918  6,194.50        -2.69
 Kuala Lumpur           1602.35   1690.58         -5.22
 Ho Chi Minh            980.36    892.54          9.84
 
 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  
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