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Most Southeast Asian markets rise on trade deal hopes

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11/07/2019 | 06:50am EST
A man walks past screen at the Indonesia Stock Exchange building in Jakarta

Most Southeast Asian stock markets climbed on Thursday, with Thailand leading the pack with a 1% gain, after China said it agreed with the United States to cancel in phases the tariffs imposed on each others' goods.

China's commerce ministry said Washington and Beijing must simultaneously cancel some duties on each others' goods for the two sides to reach a "phase one" trade deal.

"The trade war started with tariffs, and should end with the cancellation of tariffs," Gao Feng, a commerce ministry spokesman, told reporters without specifying a timetable.

"We have come from nowhere to tariff roll-back in just two weeks. This tells that someone is really motivated to put a deal together," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.

"Also, U.S. President Donald Trump needs the S&P 500 to be over 3,100 ahead of elections next year, and what he needs is a trade deal."

Thai stocks closed at their highest in more than one month, driven by buying in the last of couple of hours after subdued trading for most parts of the day.

Energy and materials stocks were among the top gainers, with Thai Oil Pcl and PTT Global Chemical adding 5.1% each.

Singapore shares posted their highest close in more than three months, lifted by financials and consumer firms. CapitaLand Ltd rose 1.9% and Wilmar International advanced 1.6%.

Philippine shares gained 0.6%, rebounding from a more than 2% slump in the previous session, after data showed the archipelago's economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, fuelled by buoyant government spending and domestic demand.

Financial and consumer stocks were among the top gainers, with SM Prime Holdings adding 3.1%, while Robinsons Retail Holdings rose 1.6%.

Meanwhile, Indonesian shares trimmed earlier losses to close 0.8% lower.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday urged banks to help stimulate the economy with cuts in lending rates and loans to small and medium firms following feeble third-quarter growth data.

If state-owned banks were to cut their rates, "it would drag the average lending rate, which would result in a drop in net interest margin (NIM), with no countervailing loan growth, due to tight liquidity", said Christine Natasya, an equity analyst at Mirae Asset Indonesia.

"In this scenario, we would expect NIM deterioration to begin starting early 2020."

Financial and communication stocks were among top losers. Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Permata finished lower by 3.9% and 12.3%, respectively, while state-owned Telekomunikasi Indonesia slipped 1.2%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks <.JKLQ45> fell 1%.

By Sameer Manekar

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK RAKYAT INDONESIA (PERSERO) TBK PT End-of-day quote.
CAPITALAND LIMITED 1.65% 3.69 End-of-day quote.18.65%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 1.22% 28015.06 Delayed Quote.20.09%
NASDAQ 100 1.07% 8397.367217 Delayed Quote.30.41%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.00% 8656.528802 Delayed Quote.28.41%
PTT GLOBAL CHEMICAL PCL End-of-day quote.
ROBINSONS RETAIL HOLDINGS INC End-of-day quote.
S&P 500 0.91% 3145.91 Delayed Quote.25.49%
SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC. End-of-day quote.
TELEKOMUNIKASI INDONESIA (PERSERO) TBKPT End-of-day quote.
THAI OIL PCL End-of-day quote.
WILMAR INTERNATIONAL LIMITED 0.49% 4.14 End-of-day quote.31.43%
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