Most SE Asian stocks rise ahead of China growth data; Vietnam slumps

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BENGALURU (April 16): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday, with Philippines leading the gainers, on optimism over a potential economic recovery in China ahead of its first-quarter growth data on Wednesday.

China's economic growth during the quarter is likely to have cooled to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, a Reuters poll has showed, but a flurry of measures to boost domestic demand may have put a floor under slowing activity in March.

The People's Bank of China said some positive changes have occurred in the structural adjustments of the Chinese economy in the first quarter, but deeper problems remain, amid uncertainties.

Last week, the country reported strong credit growth as well as exports for March.  

"Players in Asia may turn defensive today ahead of China's GDP report on Wednesday, which may provide some direction," ING said in a note.

Philippine stocks led gains in the region and were on track to snap three consecutive sessions of losses, after the delayed national budget was finally signed by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

President Duterte signed a 3.7 trillion peso (US$71.54 billion) budget for this year, its largest ever, ending months of impasse that forced the Southeast Asian country to cuts its growth target. Last month, Philippines reduced this target to 6-7% from 7-8%.

Industrials and real estate stocks drove gains in the Philippine market with SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc firming 1.8% and 2.2%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Vietnam stocks fell as much as 2% to its lowest level in nearly two months, with real estate stocks dragging the index.

Vinhomes JSC and Vingroup JSC were the top drags on the index shedding 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively.

Thai market was closed for a holiday.

Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3333.19   3325.86         0.22
Manila                 7842.24   7787.98         0.70
Jakarta                6448.648  6435.151        0.21
Kuala Lumpur           1633.57   1631.33         0.14
Ho Chi Minh            971.89    982.9           -1.12

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3333.19   3068.76         8.62
Manila                 7842.24   7,466.02        5.04
Jakarta                6448.648  6,194.50        4.10
Kuala Lumpur           1633.57   1690.58         -3.37
Ho Chi Minh            971.89    892.54          8.89

(US$1 = 51.7200 Philippine pesos)