Most SE Asian stocks end on cheery note; Thai shares up over 1%

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(July 20): Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended the week on a positive note with Thailand rising over 1% while the Philippines posted its best week in well over a year.

Asia shares ex-Japan erased early losses to rise 0.7% as Chinese stocks staged a smart recovery and the yuan bounced from a one-year low.

The Chinese currency took a beating earlier in the day after the country's central bank set a weaker fixing for the seventh straight session, adding to the anxiety in Asian markets, which remain sensitive to any sharp moves in the yuan.

Thai stocks extended gains from the previous session to end up 1.5%, marking a one-month closing high.

Shares in four of Thailand's biggest lenders rose after they reported market-beating second-quarter profit, as the impact of their decision to waive fees for digital transactions was milder than expected.

Kasikornbank jumped 5.8% while Siam Commercial Bank was up 4.4%.

Philippine stocks ended the day higher, erasing early losses. BDO Unibank up 1.9% and SM Prime Holdings rising 1.2%.

The bourse marked its best week since April 2017.

The Indonesian index pulled back from early losses, after the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday, taking a pause in its monetary tightening cycle aimed at bolstering the currency.

The rupiah hit a near three-year low on Friday.

The "puzzling movement" of the rupiah despite impressive interest rate hikes has the market a little concerned, said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.

Investors now have to reassess the economy and recalibrate their investment strategies, he added.

The benchmark index closed the week 1.2% lower.

Singapore shares extending gains for a fourth consecutive session, ending up 0.6%. For the week it gained 1.2%.

Malaysian shares snapped nine consecutive sessions of gains to end lower. Digi.Com Bhd was down 1.9% and Tenaga Nasional fell 0.7%.

Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for July 1-20 fell, according to independent inspection company AmSpec Agri Malaysia

Malaysia is the second largest producer and exporter of palm oil.

Vietnam stocks snapped five weekly sessions of losses and also a six-day winning run to end down 1.1%. Saigon Beer slumped 7% to a one-year low.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3297.83   3277.58         0.62
Bangkok            1671.06   1646.89         1.47
Manila             7399.61   7387.87         0.16
Jakarta            5872.784  5871.077        0.03
Kuala Lumpur       1754.67   1759.24         -0.26
Ho Chi Minh        933.39    943.97          -1.12

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3297.83   3402.92         -3.09
Bangkok            1671.06   1753.71         -4.71
Manila             7399.61   8558.42         -13.54
Jakarta            5872.784  6355.654        -7.60
Kuala Lumpur       1754.67   1796.81         -2.35
Ho Chi Minh        933.39    984.24          -5.17