SE Asian stocks rise on signs of recovery in Chinese economy

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BENGALURU (April 15): Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Monday as upbeat trade and credit data from China pointed to a healing economy amid concerns about global economic growth, while positive headlines on Sino-US trade talks boosted investor sentiment as well.

China's new bank loans rebounded in March, rising far more than expected. Exports also bounced back in March but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy.

"Trading at the onset of the week may be dictated by positive risk appetite levels... as investors continue to sift for signs of recovery in the Chinese economy," said Emmanuel Ng, a FX strategist at OCBC Bank, in a note.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday a US-China trade agreement would go "way beyond" previous efforts to open China's markets to US companies and hoped that the two sides were "close to the final round" of negotiations.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.1%.

Indonesian shares were headed for their first session of gain in four ahead of March trade data, with financial and consumer stocks leading the rally.     

Indonesia probably swung back to a trade deficit in March after the previous month's surprise surplus, as imports likely fell less sharply than exports did, a Reuters poll showed. Except for February, Southeast Asia's largest economy has had a trade deficit every month since October.

Bank Central Asia gained 0.2%, while conglomerate Astra International Tbk Pt firmed 1%.

Malaysian shares rose for a second straight session, buoyed by material and telecom stocks.

Chemicals producer Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd rose nearly 1% and telecom service provider Maxis Bhd added 1.3%.

Singapore shares extended gains into a fifth session on telecom and technology stocks.

Meanwhile, Philippine shares reversed early gains, dragged by consumer and industrial stocks.

Thailand and Vietnam stock markets were closed for a holiday.

Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3333.01   3331.98         0.03
Manila                 7862.6    7880.82         -0.23
Jakarta                6418.459  6405.866        0.20
Kuala Lumpur           1633.82   1630.17         0.22

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3333.01   3068.76         8.61
Manila                 7862.6    7,466.02        5.31
Jakarta                6418.459  6,194.50        3.62
Kuala Lumpur           1633.82   1690.58         -3.36