Most SE Asian stocks slip as US ban on Huawei reignites trade worries

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(May 16): Most Southeast Asian stock markets slipped on Thursday, with the Philippines leading losses, as US-China trade friction intensified after Washington's ban on China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday it is adding Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called "Entity List" — a move that bans the telecom giant from buying parts and components from US companies without a government approval.

"Trump is moving to curb Huawei's access to the US market and American suppliers. This can be taken negatively with regards to how the Trump administration plans to ease tensions between the two largest economies in the world," Fio Dejesus, equity research analyst at RCBC Securities, said.  

Philippine stocks fell almost 1% to their lowest since Jan 3, pressured by energy and consumer cyclicals.

The Philippines, an ally of the United States, in February, pushed ahead to launch a Huawei Technologies-backed 5G service in the country, even as Washington said it would rethink cooperation with allies that use Huawei.

Malaysia stocks marginally slipped ahead of its first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, which is expected to grow at a much slower pace than the previous quarter, according to a Reuters poll.

Top losers on the index were synthetic rubber gloves maker Hartalega Holdings, which saw its worst day in one-week and Malaysia Airports Holdings, which dropped 1.4%.    

Indonesia's index edged lower ahead of central bank's policy decision later in the day, as the apex bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged after the country posted its widest monthly trade deficit in history.

Mall operator Bliss Properti Indonesia slumped nearly 19%, while engineering services company ABM Investama dropped to a record low.    

However, US President Donald Trump is planning to delay tariffs on auto imports, providing some relief to markets hit by a flare-up in trade tensions.

Vietnam stocks were trading marginally higher, boosted by energy and technology stocks.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0328 GMT

Market          Current    Previous close  % move
Singapore       3218.51    3218.77         -0.01
Bangkok         1612.89    1621.27         -0.52
Manila          7511.02    7576.71         -0.87
Jakarta         5962.719   5980.885        -0.30
Kuala Lumpur    1610.09    1611.43         -0.08
Ho Chi Minh     977.24     975.64          0.16

Change on year

Market          Current    End 2017        % move
Singapore       3218.51    3068.76         4.88
Bangkok         1612.89    1563.88         3.13
Manila          7511.02    8558.42         -12.24
Jakarta         5962.719   6194.498        -3.74
Kuala Lumpur    1610.09    1690.58         -4.76
Ho Chi Minh     977.24     984.24          -0.71