Most subdued on bleak China trade data

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(April 12): Most Southeast Asian markets were subdued on Friday as China's imports in March shrank and expectations of a further slowdown in Beijing's economic growth curbed risk appetite, while the Malaysian index bucked the sombre mood to end firmer. 

Exports in China, the biggest trading partner of Southeast Asia, rebounded in March but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace. Imports dropped 7.6% from a year earlier, worse than analysts' forecasts for a 1.3% fall.

Investor sentiment was further dampened, after a Reuters poll showed China's economic growth is expected to slow to a near 30-year low of 6.2% this year.

Philippine stocks extended their red streak into a second session with a 0.9% fall, dented mostly by industrials. 

Shares of International Container Terminal Services Inc dropped 3% to their lowest close in a week. A BusinessWorld article stated that the company is negotiating with banks for the possible acquisition of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines' assets.

The index snapped two weekly losses to end higher for the week. 

Vietnam shares closed 0.3% weaker, with financial and real estate stocks dragging the index lower. For the week, the index dropped 0.6%. 

Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks snapped their three-day losing streak to end 0.4% firmer, while the index slipped 0.7% for the week, marking its fourth consecutive weekly loss. 

Also buoying sentiment was the agreement between Malaysia and China to resume construction of a multi-billion dollar rail project, after months of negotiations that strained ties between the two trade partners.

However, gains in the Malaysian index were capped by chemicals producer Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, which ended 1.3% weaker.  

A fire was brought under control early on Friday, after an explosion at a Malaysian oil refinery being developed by state oil firm Petronas, which was testing its facilities ahead of planned commercial operations later this year. Petronas Chemicals Group is a subsidiary of Petronas.

Indonesia, Singapore and Thai stocks were largely unchanged. 


Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3331.98 3330.82 0.03
Bangkok 1660.45 1659.09 0.08
Manila 7880.82 7955.8 -0.94
Jakarta 6405.866 6410.166 -0.07
Kuala Lumpur 1630.17 1624.23 0.37
Ho Chi Minh 982.9 985.95 -0.31

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3331.98 3068.76 8.58
Bangkok 1660.45 1563.88 6.18
Manila 7880.82 7,466.02 5.56
Jakarta 6405.866 6,194.50 3.41
Kuala Lumpur 1630.17 1690.58 -3.57
Ho Chi Minh 982.9 892.54 10.12