Most SE Asian markets fall on weak China data; Singapore edges up

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BENGALURU (July 12): Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower on Friday after weak trade data from China, the region's biggest trading partner, spelt further weakness for the broader Asian economy.

China's June exports fell and imports shrank more than expected as a trade tiff with the United States continued to erode demand in the country.

Fears of a resurgence in trade tensions also weighed on regional stocks after US President Donald Trump said in a tweet that China was not living up to promises it made on buying agricultural products from American farmers.

Local stock indexes closed the week largely unchanged as buying in anticipation of US monetary easing was offset by weaker economic readings.

Investors now await second-quarter GDP data from China due on Monday. A Reuters poll sees growth slowing to its weakest pace in at least 27 years.

Indonesian stocks closed 0.7% lower and led regional losses, with the maximum  pressure on the benchmark coming from consumer staples and telecommunication stocks. Telekom Indonesia closed more than 2% lower, while cigarette maker Gudang Garam shed more than 3%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks closed down 0.9%.    

Thai stocks ended 0.5% lower, with losses across all sectors. Oil and gas explorer PTT and hospital operator Bangkok Dusit Medical Services were among the largest drags on the benchmark.

Equity selling in the country was exacerbated by the central bank's steps to curb short-term speculative capital flows in a bid to weaken the baht. A stronger local currency hurts the country's exports.

Singapore stocks closed slightly higher as investors bet on equities benefiting from local monetary policy easing.

Seven of 11 economists surveyed by Reuters expect the central bank to ease policy in October after the island state saw its slowest economic expansion in a decade for the second quarter.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3357.34   3350.45         0.21
Bangkok            1731.59   1740.45         -0.51
Manila             8141.82   8154.49         -0.16
Jakarta            6373.345  6417.066        -0.68
Kuala Lumpur       1669.45   1679.26         -0.58
Ho Chi Minh        975.4     978.63          -0.33

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore          3357.34   3068.76         9.40
Bangkok            1731.59   1563.88         10.72
Manila             8141.82   7466.02         9.05
Jakarta            6373.345  6194.498        2.89
Kuala Lumpur       1669.45   1690.58         -1.25
Ho Chi Minh        975.4     892.54          9.28