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Drop on coronavirus jitters; Singapore eases monetary policy sharply

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03/30/2020 | 12:28am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A currency dealer talks on the phone in front of electronic boards showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) and the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and South Korean won, in Seoul

Southeast Asian stock markets dropped on Monday as worries over a severe economic damage in the region following a rise in new coronavirus cases outweighed central banks' efforts to calm investor nerves through aggressive policy easing.

The number of fresh cases and deaths rose in several countries in the region, with Malaysia warning of a surge in the number of cases in mid-April.

The Singapore benchmark shed as much as 4.2% despite the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) easing monetary policy aggressively on Monday, as the city-state braces for the worst recession in its 55-year history.

"We don't expect further loosening in the months ahead, given the limitations on how much more the MAS can do," Alex Holmes, an analyst at Capital Economics wrote in a note.

Heavyweight financial stocks United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd both shed more than 4%.

Indonesian shares dropped as much as 5%, with financial stocks being the top losers. PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk slipped over 6%, each.

Starting Monday up until May 29, Indonesian currency markets and stock trading hours will be limited as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The Indonesian government faced increasing calls to tighten restrictions on movement and a hashtag translating as #LockdownOrDie trended on social media, while politicians, doctors and rights leaders all urged stricter action.

Vietnamese markets tumbled up to 5.6%, dragged by the financials and the real estate sector.

The country's prime minister asked major cities to prepare for possible lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus as the number of confirmed cases touched nearly 200.

In Thailand, the energy-heavy Thai index fell as oil prices took another beating. PTT Pcl and PTT Exploration and Production Pcl skid up to 4.2% and 3.9%, respectively. [O/R]

The Philippine and Malaysian indexes also traded lower.

For Asian Companies click;

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0336 GMT

STOCK MARKETS

Change on the

day

Market Current Previous Pct Move

close

Singapore 2423.4 2528.76 -4.17

Bangkok 1077.83 1099.76 -1.99

Manila 5115.23 5266.62 -2.87

Jakarta 4318.292 4545.571 -5.00

Kuala Lumpur 1322.89 1343.09 -1.50

Ho Chi Minh 659.32 696.06 -5.28

Change so far

in 2020

Market Current End 2019 Pct Move

Singapore 2423.4 3222.83 -24.81

Bangkok 1077.83 1579.84 -31.78

Manila 5115.23 7,815.26 -34.55

Jakarta 4318.292 6,299.54 -31.45

Kuala Lumpur 1322.89 1588.76 -16.73

Ho Chi Minh 659.32 960.99 -31.39

(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; editing by Uttaresh.V)

By Arundhati Dutta

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD -1.39% 19.18 End-of-day quote.-25.89%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 2.61% 10.62 End-of-day quote.75.83%
PT BANK CENTRAL ASIA TBK 1.82% 23825 End-of-day quote.-28.72%
PT BANK MANDIRI (PERSERO) TBK 5.44% 4070 End-of-day quote.-46.97%
PTT 1.40% 36.25 End-of-day quote.-17.61%
PTT EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION 1.18% 85.5 End-of-day quote.-31.33%
TBK CO., LTD. 6.35% 469 End-of-day quote.2.85%
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK LIMITED -1.12% 19.46 End-of-day quote.-26.32%
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