SET slightly gains, Singapore stocks decline again

SET slightly gains, Singapore stocks decline again

The Stock Exchange of Thailand ended higher, while most Southeast Asian stock markets declined on Monday, with Singapore closing near a one-and-half-year low, as a potentially damaging escalation in the Sino-US tariff row weighed on investor sentiment.

Asia shares ex-Japan also slipped, to a more than one-year low, as investors were jittery after US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States.

Also, weighing on global shares was the prospect of faster rate hikes by the Federal Reserve after data released on Friday showed US job growth accelerated in August and wages notched their largest annual increase in more than nine years.

"Global emerging markets are being hit by fears of trade tariffs, and the FOMC meeting later this month would put further pressure on emerging markets," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities, referring to the US Federal Open Market Committee's Sept 25-26 meeting.

The SET index earned 2.02 points or 0.12% to close at 1,691.51, in trade worth 32 billion baht.

Singapore stocks fell for a fourth straight session and posted their lowest close since late March 2017.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp declined 0.5% to a near one-year closing low, and United Overseas Bank Ltd shed 0.6%.

Philippine shares closed little unchanged after declining 1.7% to a near seven-week low in intraday trade.

Losses in financials were outweighed by gains in consumer stocks. Bank of the Philippine Islands dropped 1.7%, while consumer food company Universal Robina Corp gained 5.6%.

Besides regional sentiment, a weaker peso and higher-than expected annual inflation are also keeping investors wary about Philippine stocks, said Charles William Ang, an associate analyst at COL Financial Group.

Indonesian shares fell 1.3% before cutting some of the losses to close 0.4% lower. Bank Central Asia declined 0.4%, while Bank Negara Indonesia lost 1%.

Meanwhile, Vietnam shares rose 0.2% with real estate company Vingroup gaining 2.2%.

Malaysia was closed for a holiday.

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