Most Asean markets down on trade war, KLCI up

  • Business
  • Friday, 24 May 2019

SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian stock markets declined on Friday as the trade war between the United States and China snowballed into a deeper strategic issue, while Indonesia was on track to snap four weeks of declines. 

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said his administration's complaints against Huawei Technologies might be resolved within the framework of a Sino-U.S. trade deal, while at the same time calling the Chinese firm "very dangerous". 

Washington last week placed Huawei on a trade blacklist, which effectively banned U.S. companies from selling goods to the telecom giant. 

"Asian markets are likely to take another step back today as investors reassess their market positioning amid the potentially protracted US-China trade war," OCBC Bank said in a note to clients. 

The Manila index fell up to 1.8%, dragged by industrial and real estate stocks, but was poised to gain 1.6% for the week. 

Conglomerate SM Investments Corp lost 2.4%, while property developer Ayala Land Inc dropped 2.3%. 

The spillover effect of the ban has also seeped into Asia with retailers in the region, including in Singapore and Philippines, refusing to accept Huawei phones for trade-ins as customers look to offload their devices. 

Meanwhile, Singapore stocks traded marginally lower ahead of the country's April manufacturing output figures due later in the day. 

The index was set to fall 1.6% this week, its third straight weekly loss. Economic data from the island, released earlier in the week, showed Singapore's first-quarter annual economic growth contract to the lowest in nearly a decade, as manufacturing contracted in the wake of the bitter Sino-U.S. spat. 

The Thai bourse slipped 0.7% and was likely to decline for a third consecutive week. 

Energy stocks dragged the index as oil prices plunged overnight on dampened demand outlook due to the ongoing trade tension. 

Oil & gas firms PTT Exploration and Production PCL and PTT PCL declined 4.6% and 1.6%, respectively.

 Indonesian stocks, however, advanced as much as 0.6% and was expected to rise 3.8% for the week as it snaps four straight weeks of losses. 

Markets were largely positive during the week after incumbent President Joko Widodo was re-elected, despite some violence seen in the capital by protesters angry about the outcome. 

Malaysian equities rose on Friday as consumer price index in April rose 0.2% from a year earlier, matching the pace in March, but was below a 0.4% estimate in a Reuters poll. 

Earlier this month, the country's central bank cut its key interest rate for the first time since 2016, amid weak inflation and concerns over slowing economic growth. - Reuters


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