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SE Asia Stocks post heavy losses as novel coronavirus rattles sentiment

Saturday, February 01, 2020, 10:55 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks post heavy losses as novel coronavirus rattles sentiment
A man monitors a stock index board at a bank in Bangkok, Thailand, February 6, 2018. Photo: Reuters

The Philippine and Vietnam indexes slumped over two percent on Friday, while other Southeast Asian stock markets also extended losses to close lower as fears about the spread of coronavirus triggered sell-offs across the region.

The World Health Organisation has declared the virus a global health emergency as the death toll reached 259 in China while at least 25 other countries reported infections.

Economists fear the hit to China's economy from the virus could result in a greater economic impact to the world's economy than that of the 2002/2003 Severe Acute Respiratory (SARS) epidemic since China's share of the global economy is now far greater.

Fears of the spreading coronavirus in China - the region's largest trading partner - have knocked global stock markets over the past week. Transport, tourism, retail, and luxury stocks have been at the frontline.

The Philippine index tumbled for a fifth consecutive session to close at its lowest since November 2018, with financial and consumer sectors being the biggest drags.

BDO Unibank shed about four percent, while conglomerate SM Investments lost 2.4 percent.

Malaysian shares extended their losing streak to nine sessions and closed at an eight-year low.

Thai stocks also ended weaker, with utilities and consumer sectors accounting for bulk of the losses, while the index posted its seventh monthly decline.

Thailand's economy is expected to grow less than forecast this year due to coronavirus' impact on tourism, said a country official, after the trade-reliant economy reported a contraction in December exports earlier in the day.

The Singapore index posted its biggest monthly drop since August and recorded a weekly decline of 2.7 percent. Lender DBS Group Holdings ended 1.3 percent lower, while heavyweight Singapore Telecommunications shed 2.1 percent.

Vietnam stocks came under pressure by a drop in financial and consumer sectors. The bourse lost 5.5 percent this week.

Indonesia shares eased to an eight-month low, with Bank Central Asia and household goods maker Unilever Indonesia losing over three percent each.

Reuters

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