SE Asian stocks drop on fragile global sentiment; Singapore cuts growth outlook

  • Aug 13, 2019
  • The Edge Markets

(Aug 13): Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower on Tuesday, tracking global peers, with bellwether Singapore cutting its growth outlook as geopolitical tensions over Hong Kong protests and the Sino-US trade dispute dented investor sentiment.

The geopolitical tensions added to the gloom from an impasse in the Sino-US trade negotiations, ahead of further US tariffs on Chinese goods that are slated to kick in next month.

The Hong Kong airport, the busiest cargo airport in the world, stalled operations after violent protests plunged the Asian financial hub into its most serious political crisis in decades, while China said the wave of protests in the island city had started showing "sprouts of terrorism".

"Dropping the 'T' word is particularly disturbing as it does suggest a more aggressive mainland response, which triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets," Stephen Innes, managing partner at VM Markets Pte Ltd, said in a note to clients.

The sentiment in emerging markets was particularly cautious after Argentine markets plummeted on Monday as President Mauricio Macri lost by a greater-than-expected margin in the country's presidential primaries, increasing the risk of a return to interventionist economic policies.

Singapore stocks hit their lowest close in more than two months after the city-state trimmed its full-year expected growth range to zero to 1% from a previous forecast of 1.5%-2.5%.?????? ??

Singapore is considered a bellwether for global trade conditions as its international trade far surpasses its domestic economy.

Index heavyweights Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings closed down 2.2% and 2.9%, respectively.

The Thai index, the biggest laggard in the region, extended losses after posting its worst intraday session in nearly eight months.

The index was dragged lower by financial and industrial sectors, with lender Siam Commercial Bank dropping 1.5%, while Airports of Thailand ended down 3.6%.

Malaysian shares posted their lowest close in nearly four years, dented by losses in financial and resources sectors.

Lender Public Bank Bhd ended down 3.6%, while chemicals producer Petronas Chemical Group Bhd closed 2% lower.

Philippine shares and Vietnam stocks ended down 0.8% each.

Markets in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand were closed on Monday for public holiday.


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