Philippines skids as soaring oil prices weigh

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BENGALURU (Sept 17): Philippine stocks fell on Tuesday as soaring crude oil prices stoked fears that the oil importing nation's trade deficit could widen further, while Singapore slipped after data showed exports contracted for a sixth straight month in August.

Crude oil prices jumped nearly 15% on Monday as attacks on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend halved the kingdom's oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in decades and raising tensions in the Middle East.

For countries that are running trade deficits, such as the Philippines, higher oil prices run the risk of widening their deficit and subsequently exerting downward pressure on the currency. A weaker currency in turn further drives up the country's spend on oil imports.

"The question now is, how long will the prices stay high or when will the supply normalise? Some say a few weeks, others say few months," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst, COL Financial Group.

"If the market believes that oil prices will continue to spike, then a correction in the market is certainly a distinct possibility."

Philippine stocks shed 0.8%, making them the region's worst performers. SM Investments Corp lost 1.5%, while land developer Ayala Land shed 2.2%.

Indonesian stocks closed slightly higher, recovering from a near 2% drop in the prior session.

Indonesia, which has swung between a current account deficit and surplus in recent months and is a net oil importer, may also come under pressure if the oil spike lasts.

Singapore stocks fell after data showed exports shrank for a sixth straight month. The figures were slightly better than expectation but failed to lift investor sentiment.    

Conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings and CapitaLand Ltd slipped 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Vietnam shares added 0.7%, driven by last-minute buying in real estate stocks with Vinhomes JSC tacking on 2%.

Malaysian stocks see-sawed throughout the session to close marginally higher.    

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market                 Current  Previous close  % move
Singapore              3183     3203.93         -0.65
Bangkok                1663.93  1662.93         0.06
Manila                 7932.23  7996.9          -0.81
Jakarta                6236.69  6219.435        0.28
Kuala Lumpur           1604.3   1601.25         0.19
Ho Chi Minh            996.74   989.86          0.70

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current  End 2018        % move
Singapore              3183     3068.76         3.72
Bangkok                1663.93  1563.88         6.40
Manila                 7932.23  7,466.02        6.24
Jakarta                6236.69  6,194.50        0.68
Kuala Lumpur           1604.3   1690.58         -5.10
Ho Chi Minh            996.74   892.54          11.67