Thailand leads SE Asia stocks higher

Thailand leads SE Asia stocks higher

Thai shares led Southeast Asian equities higher on Tuesday as markets drew relief from the absence of any fresh escalations in the standoff between the United States and Iran.

Regional markets recovered from sharp declines on Monday, gaining broadly in line with their Asian peers. 

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recouped almost all of losses from the previous session. 

However, uncertainties still persist on report of Iran considering 13 "revenge scenarios" in retaliation for US strike last week, and the United States denying a visa to Iran's foreign minister to attend a United Nations meeting this week. 

Thai equities led the gains in the region, buoyed by financial and industrial sectors. Retailer CP All Plc and Airports of Thailand rose 1.4% and 2.1% respectively. 

Singapore's benchmark index ended 0.9% higher, boosted by financials and industrial firms. Southeast Asia's largest lender DBS Group Holdings added 0.7%, while Jardine Strategic Holdings gained 1.6%. 

Malaysian stocks finished 0.8% higher with financials and telecom firms rising the most. CIMB Group Holdings and Maxis Bhd added 1.3% and 2.3%, respectively. 

The Philippine bourse rose 0.6% on the back of consumer firms, with SM Investments Corp adding 2.6%. Data released on Tuesday showed the country's annual inflation picking up more than expected in December, but remaining within the central bank's target for last year. 

Last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno said the policymakers will resume easing policy this year, and "at least 50 basis points" were to be expected in 2020. 

Indonesian shares gained 0.4%, with financials and consumer sectors pushing the index. The country posted an unaudited budget deficit of 2.2% of gross domestic product in 2019, in line with the government's latest estimate but higher than its hoped-for 1.8% of GDP. 

Bank Rakyat Indonesia and poultry feed firm Charoen Pokphand Indonesia gained 0.7% and 6.9% respectively. 

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