(July 12): Southeast Asian stock markets traded in a tight range on Friday as investors awaited a slew of key important economic data from China and elsewhere in the region, while Philippines rose the most.
Market participants were awaiting further cues from the economic health of China, Southeast Asia's biggest trading partner, especially in the face of the Sino-US trade war.
China's June trade balance data is due later today, while its June industrial output and second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data is slated to be out on July 15.
Adding to the uncertainty, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said China was not acting on its promises of buying agricultural products from American farmers.
"With no documentation, there is limited clarity on what were actually promised between the two leaders (Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping), which could complicate any deals," Mizuho bank said in a note.
Philippine benchmark index rose slightly and was on track to gain about 0.8% for the week, boosted by banking and telecommunications stocks.
Lender BDO Unibank Inc rose about 1%, while telecom service provider PLDT Inc advanced about 1.7%.
Singapore shares also advanced, helped by gains in the financial and consumer goods sectors.
Singapore's second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was well below expectations and was its slowest year-on-year growth since the second quarter of 2009.
The poor show may raise prospects of dovish action by the city-state's central bank, which will likely drive capital flows to equities.
"Given below-potential growth this year ... we now expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to ease policy at their October review," ANZ Research said in a note to clients.
Malaysian stocks were down in thin trade, ahead of its May industrial output data due later in the day.
Lenders CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd were down about 2.6% and 1%, respectively.
Indonesian shares traded slightly lower, though the benchmark was on track to gain for the seventh consecutive week.