Most SE Asian stocks slip on growth fears; Philippines rises ahead of cenbank meet

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BENGALURU (Dec 11): Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday as lacklustre data from major economies including China and Japan have fanned worries about global economic activity, while Philippines shares edged higher ahead of the central bank policy meeting this week.

The equities tracked broader Asia with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan diving more than 16% so far this year. It had surged 33.5% in 2017.

"I think it is a quiet trading day, probably because there were a series of bad news from last week, and trade tensions between China and the United States are still hanging over," said Joel Ng, analyst, Singapore-based KGI Securities.

Meanwhile, Beijing confirmed that Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He spoke with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday, exchanging views on pushing forward the next stage of trade talks.

Last weekend, China had reported a far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports which hinted at a slower global and domestic demand.

Singapore shares were on course to hit a sixth consecutive session of declines, with losses being led by industrials.

Shares of Jardine Matheson Holdings slipped to their lowest in nearly three weeks and Jardine Strategic Holdings lost as much as 2.5%.

Malaysian shares dropped to their weakest since Jan 5, 2017; poised to close lower for a sixth straight session.

Shares in lenders Malayan Banking Bhd and Public Bank Bhd hovered around a four-week low.

Indonesian shares edged down to a nearly one-week low, as consumer staples and telecom stocks accounted for most of the declines on the index.

Thailand shares were subdued as the trading resumed after a public holiday on Monday. Financial and consumer sectors were in the red with shares of Siam Commercial Bank extending losses to a third straight session, while convenience stores operator CP All PCL dipped 1.1%.

Bucking the trend, the Philippines index gained ahead of the central bank's monetary policy meeting scheduled for Thursday. The central bank 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.

The country posted a record trade deficit in October after the imports for the month climbed 21.4% to US$10.3 billion outpacing the 3.3% growth in exports, a data showed.

Philippines was among the top two Asian countries to receive the highest foreign inflows of US$706 million in November.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0442 GMT

Market           Current       Previous close  % move
Singapore        3059.69       3072.44         -0.41
Bangkok          1641.87       1649.99         -0.49
Manila           7396.14       7348.21         0.65
Jakarta          6081.058      6111.36         -0.50
Kuala Lumpur     1657.21       1663.31         -0.37
Ho Chi Minh      953.4         955.89          -0.26

Change on year

Market           Current       End 2017        % move
Singapore        3059.69       3402.92         -10.09
Bangkok          1641.87       1753.71         -6.38
Manila           7396.14       8558.42         -13.58
Jakarta          6081.058      6355.654        -4.32
Kuala Lumpur     1657.21       1796.81         -7.77
Ho Chi Minh      953.4         984.24          -3.13