Philippines jumps to near 3-month closing high

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(Aug 8): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday, with Philippine shares bouncing back to their highest close in nearly three months ahead of economic growth data and a central bank meeting.

The key Philippine stock index closed 1.6% higher, with holding firms and property plays leading the charge.

Inflation surged in July, but the rise in U.S. stock markets on Tuesday, as well as the positioning ahead of second-quarter GDP data bolstered investor confidence, said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc.

The Philippine central bank looks certain to raise interest rates for a third time this year at its meeting on Thursday, which comes after government data showed annual inflation moved further above its 2%-4% target range for 2018.

The economy likely expanded at a slightly slower pace in the second quarter, according to a Reuters poll. 

However, imports in June grew at the fastest pace this year, while exports dipped, bringing the trade deficit to more than US$3 billion for a third straight month, government data showed.
Among top gainers on Wednesday, property developer SM Prime Holdings rose 2.9% to its highest close since Jan 29.

Thai shares closed 0.8% higher, after rising as much as 1% to their highest since June 13. Gas supplier PTT Public Co gained 1.4%, while Bangkok Dusit Medical Services climbed 3.9%.

The Thai central bank held its benchmark interest rate near record lows, as expected, saying Southeast Asia's second-largest economy continued to face little inflationary pressure, as growth pace improved.

Malaysian shares climbed 0.8% to a two-and-half-month closing high, while Indonesian stocks erased early gains to end slightly higher.

Singapore shares declined 0.4%, dragged by financials. DBS Group Holdings fell 3% to a two-week closing low, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp edged lower.

Asia shares ex-Japan rose in the middle of a strong second-quarter U.S. earnings season and on expectations that China will ramp up fiscal stimulus to cushion the impact of its trade dispute with the United States.

Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3326.74 3340 -0.40
Bangkok 1721.64 1707.26 0.84
Manila 7851.46 7725.85 1.63
Jakarta 6094.829 6091.25 0.06
Kuala Lumpur 1804.73 1791.09 0.76
Ho Chi Minh 966.27 956.79 0.99

Change on year

Market Current End 2017 Pct Move
Singapore 3326.74 3402.92 -2.24
Bangkok 1721.64 1753.71 -1.83
Manila 7851.46 8558.42 -8.26
Jakarta 6094.829 6355.654 -4.10
Kuala Lumpur 1804.73 1796.81 0.44
Ho Chi Minh 966.27 984.24 -1.83