Most slip on bleak China growth data; Singapore, Thailand drag

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(Oct 18): Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Friday, with Singapore and Thailand leading declines, as weak growth data from China, the region's biggest trading partner, reignited fears of a global economic downturn.

China's economic growth slowed more than expected in the third quarter, the weakest pace in almost three decades, likely raising expectations for Beijing to roll out more stimulus measures to avert a sharper slowdown.

On the brighter side, industrial output grew 5.8% year-on-year in September, recovering after slowing sharply in the previous month, though the economy remained under broad pressure from cooling demand at home and abroad. 

"We expect monetary policy to be loosened before long in response, but it will take time for this to put a floor beneath economic growth," Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. 

Singapore's index was on track for a second day of losses, hurt by weakness in financial and consumer sectors. DBS Holdings shed 0.8%, while Singapore Airlines lost 1.1%. 

Thai stocks slipped 0.4%, marking their worst day in over a week, dented by losses in financials and industrials firms.

Consumer lender Krungthai Card PCL slumped as much as 4.3% to its lowest level in nearly three months, after posting a drop in quarterly results on Thursday, while Airports of Thailand PCL declined 1%. 

Philippine stocks fell 0.3%, with financials and utilities firms accounting for most of the losses on the benchmark index. 

Real estate firm SM Prime Holdings, one of the weightiest stock on the index, lost 0.6%, while power generation company Aboitiz Equity Ventures dipped 0.3%.

Telecom and consumer stocks were the biggest drags in Malaysia's benchmark index, which is set to snap a six-week losing streak.

Axiata Group and food processor IOI Corporation declined 0.7% and 2.1% respectively. 

Meanwhile, Indonesian stocks were poised to extend gain for a sixth straight session, boosted by financials. Bank Central Asia and Bank Mandiri (Persero) gained 0.8% and 2.2% each.

The index is set to post its biggest weekly gain since May end.