June 23, 2018, 10:26 am
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SE Asia stocks up

Southeast Asian stock markets were largely buoyant on Thursday, with Singapore inching higher to a fresh two-year high and Vietnam set to extend its gaining run to the fifth session, scaling a 10-year peak.

Record-setting gains overnight on Wall Street brought cheer to broader Asia, lifting MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to a fresh 10-year high.

Meanwhile, data showing surprisingly strong producer prices in China last month and a pickup in consumer inflation underscored the resilience of the world’s second-largest economy, which is one of the biggest trade partners of Southeast Asian nations.

Investors are waiting for policy announcement from the central banks of Malaysia and the Philippines on Thursday, a day after the Thai central bank’s rate decision.

“As expected, the Bank of Thailand left the policy unchanged yesterday and central banks in Malaysia and the Philippines are expected to follow the same course today. We expect BNM (Bank Negara Malaysia) and BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) to be among the first Asian central banks to tighten next year,” ING analysts wrote in a note.

Analysts polled by Reuters also said they expected the Philippine and Malaysian central banks to stand pat on interest rates. 

Philippine shares rose 0.3 percent, buoyed by the consumer and real estate sectors, with conglomerates JG Summit Holdings and SM Prime Holdings up 2.9 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Malaysia edged 0.2 percent higher, with Genting Berhad up 2.4 percent. The country’s industrial output in September grew 4.7 percent from a year earlier, data showed, missing the 6.1 percent annual rise forecast in a Reuters poll.

Singapore stocks edged up marginally as lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd gained 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Vietnam climbed 0.5 percent, after gaining more than 1 percent in the previous session.

The country posted a trade surplus of $2.2 billion in October, much higher than the government’s forecast of $900 million, the country’s customs department said on Wednesday. – Reuters 
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