SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian stock markets gained ground on Thursday after the United States and China signed an interim trade deal, while Philippine shares were under pressure due to the threat of a volcanic eruption near its capital
Washington and Beijing inked the Phase 1 trade pact on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and see China boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years.
Despite the signing of the trade deal, investors were cautious as China's commitments seem "neither ground-breaking nor sufficiently binding in the specifics," Mizuho analysts said in a note.
"The big picture is that 'Phase-1' is a partial deal that merely pauses the U.S.-China trade conflict, buying time to sort out differences, but far from a lasting resolution," the analysts said.
Trade-sensitive Singapore shares edged higher amid gains in financial and telecommunication firms.
DBS Group Holdings Ltd added 0.7% and heavyweight Singapore Telecommunications Ltd jumped 1.2%.
Indonesia's benchmark index swung between gains and losses, while Thai shares ticked higher.
Philippine shares hit a near four-week low, with consumer and financial stocks leading losses after analysts said the volcanic activity near Manila could impact the country's gross domestic product.
Food processor Universal Robina Corp fell 1.1%, while SM Investments Corp dropped as much as 2.1% to its lowest since Jan 6.
Malaysia's main index slumped 0.3% as consumer and utility stocks faltered.
The country's palm oil exports to China jumped in 2019 but Beijing's latest trade deal with the United States could limit gains this year, a Malaysian palm official said on Thursday.
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