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SE Asia Stocks-Fall on high caution ahead of U.S. tariff deadline; Vietnam worst hit

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 10:04 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks-Fall on high caution ahead of U.S. tariff deadline; Vietnam worst hit
People walk past the stock exchange center in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters

Southeast Asian markets saw broad losses on Tuesday, with Vietnam falling the most, as investors held risky bets awaiting a decision from the United States on whether it would go ahead with fresh tariffs on Chinese imports this weekend.

Both sides struck a conciliatory tone on Monday, but no concrete details emerged.

While Beijing said it hoped to strike a deal as soon as possible, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the United States was doing well in hammering out an agreement with China.

Vietnam stocks led the declines in the region, dragged by consumer stocks. Country's largest brewer Sabeco, formally known as Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp, fell 1.2%.

Philippine stocks extended their fall to a second session, with heavyweight SM Investments weighing on the index.

"If ever there might be possibility of a Phase 1 deal, we might see stronger markets, but for now, investors are still on the sidelines," said Rachelle Cruz, analyst at AP Securities.

Cruz added that investors are also laying low ahead of a policy meeting by the Philippine central bank on Dec. 12, although a 'no rate cut' scenario is expected.

Data released earlier in the day showed that the country's October imports dropped 10.8% from a year ago in November, while exports jumped 0.1%.

Elsewhere, data from China showed consumer inflation climbed to nearly eight-year peaks in November on rising pork prices as a result of African Swine Fever.

However, according to a note by analysts at ING, since the peak of the epidemic has passed, the coming months will see a drop in inflation.

"Possibly, the improvement in China's domestic food situation reduces the incentive to give more ground in trade talks with the U.S.," the note added.

The Indonesian index ended 0.2% lower, despite a deputy governor saying that Indonesia's central bank may further trim interest rates.

Major telecoms player Telekomunikasi Indonesia slipped 0.7%. Singapore's benchmark closed 0.5% lower after remaining tepid for most of the session, with big caps United Overseas Bank and Jardine Strategic Holdings losing 0.6%, each.

Thailand markets were closed for a holiday.

Reuters

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