June 19, 2018 / 4:32 AM / 10 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets fall as trade tensions escalate

    * Asian ex-Japan shares touch over 4-month low
    * Philippines falls over 2 pct to nearly 15-month low 
    * Singapore shares edge higher on financials 

    By Nicole Pinto
    June 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
declined on Tuesday, in line with broader Asia, as U.S.
President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on Chinese goods
in an escalating trade war between the world's top two
    Trump warned on Monday that Washington would impose a
further 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods after
Beijing's decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S.
goods, which was in retaliation for U.S. tariffs announced on
    Trump said if China increases its tariffs again in response
to the latest U.S. move, "we will meet that action by pursuing
additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods."

    "This is causing a little bit of uncertainty in the market.
It is very worrisome for investors and they are staying on the
sidelines and avoiding risky assets such as equities," said
Lexter Azurin, a senior equity analyst at Manila-based AB
Capital Securities.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 hit its lowest since February as safe-haven
assets such as gold and the Japanese yen gained. 
    Philippine shares fell as much as 2.2 percent to
their lowest since March 27, 2017, weighed down by industrials
and financials. SM Investments Corp declined 3.2
percent, while BDO Unibank Inc shed 2.9 percent. 
    A slim majority of economists believe the Philippine central
bank will raise interest rates on Wednesday, but opinions are
sharply divided, with the weak peso likely to be the factor that
will tilt the scale.
    Thai shares fell nearly 1 percent to their lowest
since Sept. 28, 2017 and were on track for a fifth straight
session of decline. 
    On Wednesday, the central bank is expected to leave its
policy interest rate near a record low to encourage more
broadly-based economic growth at a time when inflation remains
low, according to all 21 economists surveyed in a Reuters Poll.
    Vietnam shares fell 2.8 percent to their lowest in
nearly three weeks, with Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp
 declining to its lowest in six months, while Vietnam
Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank dropped
6.8 percent. 
    Malaysian shares were down for a seventh straight
session, while Singapore shares rose on the back of gains
in financials. 
    Indonesian financial markets are closed through Tuesday for
Eid Al-Fitr.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on the day                            
                    Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3333.64   3324.04         0.29
 Bangkok            1667.19   1679.68         -0.74
 Manila             7286.19   7414.11         -1.73
 Kuala Lumpur       1733.71   1743.43         -0.56
 Ho Chi Minh        959.58    987.34          -2.81
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3333.64   3402.92         -2.04
 Bangkok            1667.19   1753.71         -4.93
 Manila             7286.19   8558.42         -14.87
 Kuala Lumpur       1733.71   1796.81         -3.51
 Ho Chi Minh        959.58    984.24          -2.51
 (Reporting by Nicole Pinto; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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