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SE Asia Stocks-Fall as coronavirus fears mount as death toll crosses 900

Monday, February 10, 2020, 20:19 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks-Fall as coronavirus fears mount as death toll crosses 900
A man monitors a stock index board at a bank in Bangkok, Thailand, February 6, 2018. Photo: Reuters

Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed the global SARS epidemic of 2003 and weighed on risk appetite in the region.

The virus has claimed the lives of more than 900 people in Mainland China as of Sunday and raised concerns over growth outlook in the world's second largest economy.

"The sober fact is that some economic damage is already done (by the coronavirus) and it would be highly complacent to assert that a return to normalcy in sentiment and travel is around the corner," said Taimur Baig and Chang Wei Liang, analysts at DBS Economics & Strategy Research, in a note.

Singapore stocks declined as much as 1.4 percent in early trade, but had pared some losses by 0338 GMT.

On Friday, the city-state raised its virus alert level to orange, the level reached during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, which indicates the virus is severe and passes easily between people.

Financials weighed on Singapore's main index, with United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings falling as much as two percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Also hurting sentiment was data that showed China's consumer inflation in January hit a more than eight-year high as government restrictions on movement drove residents to stock up on essentials.

Vietnamese shares fell up to 1.5 percent, leading declines in the region. The financial sector weighed on the bourse, with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam falling 3.3 percent.

Indonesian equities shed 0.8 percent and financials were the biggest drag. PT Bank Central Asia Tbk lost 1.2 percent, while PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk shed one percent.

Malaysian shares fell up to one percent, with heavyweights Tenaga Nasional falling 3.6 percent and Public Bank Bhd dropping 1.1 percent.

The county's prime minister on Monday said that the Malaysian economy is expected to expand by 4.8 percent this year, maintaining the government's forecast as it braces for a potential global slowdown tied to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Malaysia has reported 17 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday, and expanded its travel ban on China to include Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

The Philippine index fell 0.6 percent, with property developer SM Prime Holdings shedding as much as 3.2 percent.

Thailand markets were closed for a holiday.



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