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Southeast Asia stocks post heavy losses as virus toll passes 200, rattles sentiment

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01/31/2020 | 06:40am EDT
A trader reacts during trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati city, Metro Manila

The Philippine and Vietnam indexes slumped over 2% on Friday, while other Southeast Asian stock markets also extended losses to close lower as fears about the spread of coronavirus triggered sell-offs across the region.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday declared the virus a global health emergency, as the death toll surpassed the 200-mark in China while at least 22 other countries reported infections.

Economists fear the hit to China's economy from the virus could result in a greater economic impact to the world's economy than that of the 2002/2003 Severe Acute Respiratory (SARS) epidemic, since China's share of the global economy is now far greater.

Fears of the spreading coronavirus in China - the region's largest trading partner - have knocked global stock markets over the past week. Transport, tourism, retail and luxury stocks have been at the frontline.

The Philippine index tumbled for a fifth consecutive session to close at its lowest since Nov 2018, with financial and consumer sectors being the biggest drags. BDO Unibank shed about 4%, while conglomerate SM Investments lost 2.4%.

Malaysian shares extended their losing streak to nine sessions and closed at an eight-year low.

Thai stocks also ended weaker, with utilities and consumer sectors accounting for bulk of the losses, while the index posted its seventh monthly decline.

Thailand's economy is expected to grow less than forecast this year due to coronavirus' impact on tourism, said a country official, after the trade-reliant economy reported a contraction in December exports earlier in the day.

The Singapore index posted its biggest monthly drop since August, and recorded a weekly decline of 2.7%.

Lender DBS Group Holdings ended 1.3% lower, while heavyweight Singapore Telecommunications shed 2.1%.

Vietnam stocks came under pressure by a drop in financial and consumer sectors. The bourse lost 5.5% this week.

Indonesia shares eased to an eight-month low, with Bank Central Asia and household goods maker Unilever Indonesia losing over 3% each.

(Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

By Arpit Nayak

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BDO UNIBANK, INC. -2.61% 89.6 End-of-day quote.-43.29%
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD -1.39% 19.18 End-of-day quote.-25.89%
FRONTLINE LTD -0.62% 8.07 Delayed Quote.-37.25%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. -1.99% 10.35 End-of-day quote.71.36%
PT BANK CENTRAL ASIA TBK 1.82% 23825 End-of-day quote.-28.72%
PT UNILEVER INDONESIA TBK -2.42% 8050 End-of-day quote.-4.17%
SINGAPORE TELECOMMUNICATIONS LIMITED -1.49% 2.65 End-of-day quote.-20.18%
SM INVESTMENTS CORPORATION -0.84% 828 End-of-day quote.-20.61%
UNILEVER N.V. -0.52% 44.05 Delayed Quote.-14.02%
WORLD CO., LTD. 1.38% 1327 End-of-day quote.-50.69%
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