March 21, 2019 / 10:12 AM / 4 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on dovish Fed policy; Vietnam slumps 2 pct

    * Philippines posts over 3-week closing high
    * Malaysia Feb inflation data expected on Friday

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    March 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve abandoned rate hike
projections for this year, while concerns over Sino-U.S. trade
talks and slowing global growth weighed on the market.
    Having downgraded their U.S. growth, unemployment and
inflation forecasts, policymakers said the Fed's benchmark
overnight interest rate, or fed funds rate, was likely to remain
at the current level of between 2.25 percent and 2.50 percent at
least through this year.
    Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday
that the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a
"substantial period" to ensure that Beijing complies with any
trade agreement.
    Philippine shares led gains in Southeast Asia with a
rise of 1.2 percent to a more than three-week closing high
    Industrials were the top boosts with JG Summit Holding Inc
 gaining 7.1 percent to its highest close in more than a
week. 
    The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate
steady for a third straight meeting.
    Thai shares gained 0.4 percent, helped by energy and
telecom stocks, after a surprise rise in February exports.
    Customs-cleared exports rose 5.91 percent from a year
earlier, snapping three consecutive months of falls. A Reuters
poll had forecast a 1 percent drop. 
    Indonesian shares rose 0.3 percent, helped by
materials and property stocks. 
    Indonesia's central bank, welcoming the Federal Reserve's
forecast of no U.S. rate hikes this year, kept its benchmark on
hold to maintain financial stability while tweaking some rules
to try to encourage more lending.
    Meanwhile, Vietnam shares were the worst performers
in the region, shedding 2.05 percent to their lowest close in 10
days.
    Real estate stocks were the top losers with Vinhomes JSC
 and Vingroup JSC dropping 4.3 percent and 2.7
percent, respectively. 
    Malaysian shares closed 1.2 percent lower, dragged
by financial and consumer stocks. Public Bank Bhd fell
2.5 percent, while Sime Darby Plantation Bhd lost 1.8
percent. 
    Investors now await February inflation data due on Friday
for clues about the economy. A Reuters poll showed consumer
prices are expected to fall again in February, but at a slower
rate than the previous month.
    
For Asian Companies click;  

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3213.65   3207.66         0.19
 Bangkok                1634      1627.62         0.39
 Manila                 7954.72   7858.2          1.23
 Jakarta                6501.776  6482.71         0.29
 Kuala Lumpur           1663.66   1684.21         -1.22
 Ho Chi Minh            981.78    1002.3          -2.05
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3213.65   3068.76         4.72
 Bangkok                1634      1563.88         4.48
 Manila                 7954.72   7,466.02        6.55
 Jakarta                6501.776  6,194.50        4.96
 Kuala Lumpur           1663.66   1690.58         -1.59
 Ho Chi Minh            981.78    892.54          10.00
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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