Southeast Asia stocks gain as global stimulus hopes lift risk sentiment

Niyati Shetty & Reuters


Most Southeast Asian stock markets gained on Monday, as hopes that central banks around the world would unleash new stimulus to boost growth eased concerns over a global recession.

Such hopes found support from the Chinese central bank's interest rate reforms over the weekend, seen lowering corporate borrowing costs, and reports of new fiscal stimulus in Germany.

The Sino-US trade dispute has dampened growth in Southeast Asian economies, and any policy support by the region's major trading partner – China – to shore up domestic demand will help bring buyers back to the equities market.

Singapore stocks clawed back from from previous session's losses, supported by financials. Lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd added 0.8 percent, while peer United Overseas Bank Ltd gained 0.4 percent.

Asian markets may gain "on optimism that German if not Eurozone policy stimulus could be forthcoming," OCBC Bank said in a note, adding that, "Singapore may trade firmer between a 3,100-3,150 range amid positive Friday cues from Wall Street."

The Indonesian benchmark index advanced to touch its highest in more than two weeks, buoyed by gains in consumer and financial stocks. Instant noodles maker Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur rose as much as 4.3 percent, while the Bank Central Asia added 1.2 percent.

The archipelago's president on Friday proposed US$178 billion (RM741.92 billion) budget for 2020, that targeted a slightly optimistic GDP growth of 5.3 percent for the year.

Also soothing markets, US President Donald Trump and top White House officials on Sunday dismissed economic growth concerns, saying they saw little risk of recession. 

Investors were rattled last week after signals from the bond market sparked fears of a sharp global slowdown.

Thai equities gained 0.8 percent even as government data on Monday showed the trade-dependent economy grew at its slowest annual pace in almost five years in the second quarter on lower exports and soft domestic demand.

The country's finance minister on Friday, however, said Thailand was planning a US$10 billion (RM41.68 billion) stimulus package to shore up the slackening economy.

The financial and energy sectors supported Thai shares, with Siam Commercial Bank PCL and conglomerate PTT PCL adding 2.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

The Philippine index and Vietnam shares traded marginally higher, while Malaysian stocks edged down.

- Reuters

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