SE Asia Stocks-Most dip; Indonesia at 1-month low as trade deficit widens

* Singapore markets soften after disappointing Q4 GDP
* Indonesian stocks to see worst week since October 2018
* Vietnam to outperform peers this week

By Ambar Warrick
Feb 15 () – Most Southeast Asian stock markets
slipped on Friday awaiting developments on the Sino-U.S.
negotiations, while Indonesian stocks dropped on disappointing
trade data.
The Trump administration’s top two negotiators in trade
talks with China will meet later in the day with Chinese
President Xi Jinping, but there has been no decision to extend a
March 1 U.S. deadline for a deal.
« Regional markets will adopt a wait-and-see approach today
as they anticipate news from the trade talks. We expect muted
sideways trading following North America’s session, » Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA said in a note.
Wall Street ended slightly lower overnight after
disappointing retail data, with Asian shares following suit in
early trade. Also weighing on sentiment was softer inflation
data from China, which pointed to further cooling in Southeast
Asia’s largest trading partner.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesian markets dropped nearly
0.6 percent to their lowest since Jan. 15, after the country’s
trade deficit widened in January. The index was set for its
worst week since October 2018.
Consumer staples and materials led the declines, with
cosmetics maker Unilever Indonesia shedding as much as
1.6 percent, while cement maker Semen Indonesia
dropped up to 3.4 percent.
Indonesia has been struggling to curb imports to assuage its
large trade deficit, which is mostly driven by its reliance on
foreign oil.
Singapore stocks slipped as much as 0.5 percent as
financials declined, although consumer stocks curbed further
However, the index was set to gain about 1.3 percent for the
week, owing to firmer banking stocks as investors positioned
themselves for potentially positive earnings next week.
The country clocked its slowest pace of GDP growth in more
than two years due to a manufacturing slowdown, with the
government warning of further headwinds in 2019.
Thai Beverage gained up to 8 percent after its
first-quarter profit more than doubled, while lender DBS Group
shed as much as 0.6 percent.
Vietnam stocks, while trading slightly lower for the
day, were set to outperform their peers for the week with a 4.7
percent gain. The country’s stocks usually perform well in the
first quarter of the year due to an increased liquidity in the
Meanwhile, Malaysian and Philippine shares
traded sideways. Malaysian shares were set for a benign week,
while the Philippine index was slated to lose about 1 percent
after a week of rebalancing.

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Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3238.6 3253.16 -0.45
Bangkok 1645.76 1652.64 -0.42
Manila 7988.81 7991.25 -0.03
Jakarta 6386.306 6420.018 -0.53
Kuala Lumpur 1690.48 1689.06 0.08
Ho Chi Minh 950.82 952.34 -0.16

Change on year
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3238.6 3068.76 5.53
Bangkok 1645.76 1563.88 5.24
Manila 7988.81 7466.02 7.00
Jakarta 6386.306 6194.498 3.10
Kuala Lumpur 1690.48 1690.58 -0.01
Ho Chi Minh 950.82 892.54 6.53

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Our Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.