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SE Asia Stocks — Philippines falls 2%, most others subdued as U.S.-China tensions flare

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 11:02 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks — Philippines falls 2%, most others subdued as U.S.-China tensions flare
Pedestrians wearing protective face masks cross a street outside a shopping mall amid new cases of coronavirus, in Manila, Philippines, March 11, 2020. Photo: Reuters

Philippine stocks dropped two percent on Friday, leading losses in the Southeast Asian region, with most other markets ending subdued due to fears of worsening Sino-U.S. ties after U.S. President Donald Trump again blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak.      

Trump on Thursday signaled a further deterioration of his relationship with China over the novel coronavirus, saying he has no interest in speaking to President Xi Jinping right now and suggesting he could even cut ties with Beijing.     

Philippine stocks slipped nearly two percent to their lowest closing level since May 4 and recorded a second straight weekly fall.     

"Sino-U.S. Trade tension drove down the Philippine market today, and even continued improving oil prices did not help to neutralize the market movement," said Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp.     

A spike in coronavirus cases also dampened the sentiment. 

The country's health ministry reported 16 more coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 806 and recorded 215 additional infections, increasing the total tally to 12,091.     

Index heavyweights Aboitiz Equity skid 5.5 percent, while SM Prime Holdings dropped 5.2 percent after first-quarter profit fell.     

Shares in Indonesia, the region's largest economy, closed 0.1 percent lower and were down three percent for the week, the second straight weekly loss.      

Earlier in the day, data showed that the country slipped into trade deficit in April as exports and imports plunged. 

Meanwhile, a Reuters Poll showed that Indonesia's central bank is expected to deliver this year's third rate cut on Tuesday.      

An index of Jakarta's 45 most liquid stocks was 0.7 percent lower.     

Meanwhile, better-than-expected industrial output data from China, the region's biggest trade partner, helped offset some of the losses in the region.     

Thai shares were little changed as gains in energy stocks on higher oil prices were offset by renewed U.S-China trade tensions.    

Thailand will begin allowing department stores, shopping malls and other businesses to reopen from Sunday, the government said.    

The Malaysian bourse gained 0.4 percent supported by a jump in oil prices. For the week, the index gained 1.5 percent.     

Vietnam's index reversed course to end 0.7 percent lower, pressured mostly by financials. 

The benchmark extended its weekly gain into a second session.

Reuters

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