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Southeast Asia stocks: Most up as China cuts key interest rate; Philippines leads gains

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04/15/2020 | 02:59am EDT
A man wearing a protective mask sits outside the Philippine Stock Exchange at the central business district as the government implements an

Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged up on Wednesday after the Chinese central bank cut a key interest rate to get its economy back on track amid fears of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) on Wednesday cut the interest rate on its medium-term funding for financial institutions to the lowest level on record and paved the way for a similar reduction in benchmark loan rates.

The global economy is expected to shrink by 3.0% during 2020, marking the steepest downturn since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

In Southeast Asia, Philippine equities led gains as they rose as much as 2.3% to hit a one-month high, with big cap financial stocks Security Bank Corporation and Bank of the Philippine Islands gaining 5.1% and 4.8%, respectively.

Malaysian equities rose for a second straight session, boosted by gains in heavyweights such as power utility Tenaga Nasional and gas processing firm Petronas Gas.

The Vietnamese benchmark rose up to 0.7%, supported by the financial sector. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam rose 1.8%.

The Thai index inched up, helped by materials stocks, but losses in the country's prominent energy sector kept a lid on gains.

An overnight drop in oil prices was pressuring the energy sector, according to Kasikorn Securities strategist Sunthorn Thongthip.

Moreover, Thailand's economy is expected to lose 1.3 trillion baht (nearly $40 billion), almost all of it in the tourism sector, as a fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, a banking association said on Tuesday.

On the downside, Indonesian shares lost up to 0.9%, dragged by losses in communication services stocks. PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk slumped over 2%.

Shares in Singapore were subdued.

(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

By Arundhati Dutta


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS 0.47% 74.95 End-of-day quote.-14.73%
COMMERCIAL BANK FOR INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIETNAM -0.73% 40700 End-of-day quote.-11.81%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.00% 40.6 Delayed Quote.-37.71%
PERUSAHAAN PERSEROAN (PERSERO) PT TELEKOMUNIKASI INDONESIA TBK -1.13% 2620 End-of-day quote.-34.01%
PETRONAS GAS -0.50% 16.02 End-of-day quote.-3.61%
TBK CO., LTD. 1.63% 437 End-of-day quote.-4.17%
TENAGA NASIONAL -0.80% 9.89 End-of-day quote.-25.41%
THE GLOBAL LTD. 0.89% 226 End-of-day quote.-52.02%
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