July 17, 2019 / 10:06 AM / 2 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on tariff fears, fading hopes of long-term Fed easing

    * Indonesia slightly lower ahead of rate decision
    * Financial, industrial stocks weigh on Philippine index

    By Soumyajit Saha
    July 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended
lower on Wednesday, after positive U.S. retail sales data
overnight dampened expectations of long-term policy easing by
the U.S. Federal Reserve and fears of fresh U.S. tariffs on
Chinese goods.
    U.S. President Donald Trump threatened that the U.S. could
impose fresh tariffs on Chinese goods and that the two countries
still had a "long way to go" in striking out a trade deal.

    U.S. retail sales in June increased more than expected,
helped by a rise in purchase of motor vehicles, furniture and
building materials, among other things.
    "While traders see the Federal Reserve interest rate cut
this month as a lock, the strength of June data could be enough
to dim the hopes for subsequent easing," said Stephen Innes,
managing partner at Vanguard Markets Ltd, in a note.
    Market participants have benefited over the last year from
hopes of dovish action from the Fed, especially when confronted
by headwinds from the Sino-U.S. tariff war. The year-long spat
between the world's two top economies has caused considerable
damage to economic growth worldwide.
    Malaysian stocks were down 0.7%, dragged by resource and
utility stocks. Petronas Chemical Group lost 3.9%,
while electricity generator Tenaga Nasional fell 1.6%.
    Indonesian shares were slightly lower, hurt by
losses in telecom and financial stocks.
    Indonesia's central bank is widely expected to cut rates on
Thursday, according to a Reuters poll, ahead of the anticipated
Fed policy easing.
    Thai stocks fell, with index heavyweights Bangkok
Bank and PTT Exploration and Production 
down 1% each.
    Philippine benchmark ended lower for a second day,
hurt by losses in financial and industrial stocks.
    Property developer SM Prime holdings fell 1.4%,
while International Container Terminal Services was
down 1.1%.
    Singapore shares rose marginally, as the market
awaited further direction after disappointing June export data,
which followed a contraction in second-quarter GDP.
   "The economic data has increasingly favoured easing by the
Monetary Authority of Singapore" Prakash Sakpal, an economist at
ING group, said in a note.
   "Talk of an off-cycle policy adjustment, before the next
scheduled semi-annual review in October, has gained traction,"
he added. 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3364.87   3360.03         0.14
 Bangkok                1718.85   1727.98         -0.53
 Manila                 8233.48   8263.57         -0.36
 Jakarta                6394.609  6401.88         -0.11
 Kuala Lumpur           1657.53   1668.94         -0.68
 Ho Chi Minh            982.57    982.11          0.05
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3364.87   3068.76         9.65
 Bangkok                1718.85   1563.88         9.91
 Manila                 8233.48   7,466.02        10.28
 Jakarta                6394.609  6,194.50        3.23
 Kuala Lumpur           1657.53   1690.58         -1.95
 Ho Chi Minh            982.57    892.54          10.09
 

 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
  
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