SE Asian stocks plunge; S'pore hits over 20-mth closing low, Vietnam slumps 5%

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BENGALURU (Oct 11): Southeast Asian stock markets plummeted on Thursday amid a global equities rout, a day after the Wall Street recorded its worst day in eight months on mounting concerns over a rapid rise in bond yields and the likelihood of faster interest rate hikes.

US inflation figures, due later on Thursday, will be closely watched by investors as a high outcome would only stoke speculation of more aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Singapore shares declined to a more than twenty-month closing low and the Vietnamese index plunged nearly 5% as investors trimmed exposure to riskier assets amid a confluence of factors including a heated Sino-US trade battle and the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) warnings about global financial stability and growth risks.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Thursday urged countries to "use all the tools" to resist the consequences of inevitable capital outflows.

Lagarde added that some emerging markets, including South East Asian countries, have been reluctant to ramp up such controls in the belief that they should only be used in exceptional circumstances.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan hit a nineteen-month low during the day.

Singapore shares, down 2.7%, extended losses into a sixth session, with heavyweights Jardine Strategic Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings falling 4.4% and 3.7%, respectively.

The Vietnamese index dropped 4.8% to a more than two-month closing low and was the worst performer in the region. Petrovietnam Gas fell 6.9% while Vingroup JSC lost 3.7%.

"Domestically, Vietnam is facing an upward pressure on inflation, mostly due to a rise in energy prices. We don't know yet where the (market) bottom is," said Tran Anh Tuan, chief analyst at Vietcombank Securities.

Thai shares slumped 2.5% to a four-week closing low, weighed down by energy stocks. PTT PCL, down 3.7%, was the biggest drag on the index. Thailand's energy regulator is set to block the company's bid to acquire Glow Energy PCL.

The Manila index declined 1.7% to a 21-month closing low, weighed down by industrials and financials sectors. SM Investments slid 3.2% while Ayala Corp fell 2%.

Malaysian shares hit a three-month closing low, extending losses into a seventh session, while the Indonesian index fell 2% to a five-week closing low.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3047.39   3131.48         -2.69
Bangkok            1682.89   1721.82         -2.26
Manila             6884.38   7001.14         -1.67
Jakarta            5702.822  5820.668        -2.02
Kuala Lumpur       1708.49   1735.18         -1.54
Ho Chi Minh        945.89    993.96          -4.84

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3047.39   3402.92         -10.45
Bangkok            1682.89   1753.71         -4.04
Manila             6884.38   8558.42         -19.56
Jakarta            5702.822  6355.654        -10.27
Kuala Lumpur       1708.49   1796.81         -4.92
Ho Chi Minh        945.89    984.24          -3.90