Most SE Asian stocks fall as Trump's tariff ambush renews trade concerns
BENGALURU (Dec 3): Most Southeast Asian stock markets on Tuesday tracked global equities lower on concerns about weak US manufacturing data and signs of new fronts in the tariff scenario, posing an additional risk to the global economic outlook.
US President Donald Trump said on Monday he would restore tariffs on US steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina.
Trump's tariff threat overshadowed encouraging data from euro zone economies and China — Southeast Asia's biggest trading partner.
Global equities slid further after an industry data showed that the US manufacturing sector contracted for a fourth straight month in November as new orders slid to around their lowest level since 2012.
Washington also said it may slap punitive duties of up to 100% on US$2.4 billion in imports from France, after concluding that France's new digital services tax would harm US tech companies.
Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities said the risk aversion can be attributed to "trade-tension escalations between various countries and, well, as usual, the US".
"Ahead of the tariffs on China kicking in, we are expecting caution in the market for the next two weeks too," he added.
Malaysian stocks fell to their lowest in nearly eight weeks, weighed down by resource and banking sectors.
Chemicals maker Petronas Chemicals Group lost 1.7%, while lender Hong Leong Bank was down 1.2%.
Vietnam shares dropped to their lowest in more than five months, dented by losses among financial stocks.
Lender Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam was down 1.3%, while real estate developer Vinhomes was trading 1.2% lower.
Singapore stocks were dragged lower by financial and telecom sectors, while real estate and consumer stocks weighed on the Philippine index.