Most SE Asian stocks gain as Trump comments rekindle trade deal hopes

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BENGALURU (Dec 12): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday as trade war friction between the United States and China ebbed briefly after US President Donald Trump sounded optimistic about a deal with Beijing.

Trump in an interview with Reuters said talks were taking place with Beijing by phone and that he would not raise tariffs on Chinese imports until he was sure about a deal.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed a modest 0.27%, after hitting a nearly three-week low in the previous session.

"Visible signs of progress in talks offered risk relief, while tensions over a Chinese telecoms arrest have also abated," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, was granted bail by a Canadian court on Tuesday, 10 days after her arrest in Vancouver.

In the regional markets, Singapore shares jumped more than 1%, and were on course for their first day of gains after a six-session losing streak.

Lenders DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank climbed as much as 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

Malaysian shares traded higher, with the index poised to snap six consecutive sessions of declines.

The bourse was aided by upbeat industrial output figures, which showed index rose 4.2% in October from a year earlier, faster than the previous month, supported by strength in the transport, electronics and petroleum sectors, government data showed on Wednesday.

Thai shares posted their biggest intraday gain in more than a week. Energy and real estate stocks accounted for most of the gains on the index.

Petroleum producer PTT Exploration and Production PCL rose up to 2.3%, buoyed by higher crude oil prices on expectations on OPEC-led supply cuts.

However, the Philippine benchmark index slipped, dented by losses in financials and real estate stocks.

The Philippine central bank's monetary policy meeting is scheduled for Thursday, where it is widely expected to keep interest rates steady, with inflation seen easing further after it slowed to a four-month low in November, a Reuters poll showed.   

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0417 GMT

Market           Current       Previous close   % move
Singapore        3086.02       3059.28          0.87
Bangkok          1640.77       1633.62          0.44
Manila           7431.07       7451.08          -0.27
Jakarta          6101.593      6076.587         0.41
Kuala Lumpur     1665.56       1652.63          0.78
Ho Chi Minh      958.92        954.58           0.45

Change on year

Market           Current       End 2017         % move
Singapore        3086.02       3402.92          -9.31
Bangkok          1640.77       1753.71          -6.44
Manila           7431.07       8558.42          -13.17
Jakarta          6101.593      6355.654         -4.00
Kuala Lumpur     1665.56       1796.81          -7.30
Ho Chi Minh      958.92        984.24           -2.57