Southeast Asia stocks: Most recover on global stimulus hopes; Philippines leads

03/02/2020 | 12:17am

Most Southeast Asian stock markets recovered from early losses on Monday, with Philippine shares leading the pack, as hopes grew major central banks would roll out stimulus measures to help cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.

On Friday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would "act as appropriate" to support the economy, raising hopes of a rate cut and chances that others would follow suit.

Meanwhile, a private survey showed factory activity in Asia was largely subdued last month.

However, "the scale of the falls was modest compared to the weekend China prints. That appears to be alleviating some pressure on local equity markets for now," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst, OANDA.

China's factory activity contracted at the fastest pace ever in February, but analysts at OCBC expect it to bounce back this month as production resumes gradually.

Philippine shares rose 0.9% after hitting their lowest in nearly three years earlier in the session, with financial and consumer stocks leading the recovery.

Indonesian shares gained 0.5%, while an index of Jakarta's 45 most liquid stocks <.JKLQ45> was 0.6% higher.

Indonesia's central bank said on Monday it would do "triple intervention" - its term for operations in the domestic non-deliverable forward, spot foreign exchange and bond markets - and that protocols to prevent a stock market collapse were in place.

Singapore equities inched higher, with SATS Ltd leading the gains after the company announced the acquisition of UK-based aviation food solutions company Monty's Bakehouse.

Among losers, Malaysian stocks dropped 0.4% to their lowest since December 2011, with marine port services provider MISC Bhd and hospitality firm Genting Bhd among biggest drags.

By Anushka Trivedi

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