SE Asia markets skid; Singapore drops most

SE Asia markets skid; Singapore drops most

A woman, wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus, walks past the Singapore Exchange (SGX) stock exchange building in the central business district in Singapore on April 7, 2020. (AFP photo)
A woman, wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus, walks past the Singapore Exchange (SGX) stock exchange building in the central business district in Singapore on April 7, 2020. (AFP photo)

Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday amid fears of a coronavirus resurgence in China and its implications for countries easing restrictions, while prospects of Sino-US tensions flaring further also weighed on sentiment.

The central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated late last year, reported its first cluster of infections since a lockdown was lifted a month ago, casting doubts of a wider resurgence, while the reproduction rate in Germany remained above the critical threshold of 1 on Monday. 

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he opposed renegotiating the "Phase 1" trade deal with China after a Chinese state-run newspaper reported some government advisers in Beijing were urging fresh talks and possibly invalidating the agreement. 

"Markets are slightly unnerved by a dose of reality in the form of secondary outbreaks occurring in China and South Korea, and its implications for countries across the world," said Jeffrey Halley, market analyst at OANDA. 

"The prospect of US-China trade tensions flaring also weighed in, although I feel this is a storm in a teacup." 

Thai stocks gave up early gains to trade 0.1% lower, after rising for two consecutive sessions. Estimates from the Tourism Authority of Thailand showed on Monday foreign tourist arrivals may plunge by almost two-thirds to 14 million this year, the lowest in 14 years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Singapore equities declined 1.1% after four straight sessions of gains, and were on course for their worst day in more than a week. Heavyweight financials weighed on the index with DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia's biggest lender, slipping 3.2%, while CapitaLand Trust lost 3.1%. 

Philippine stocks slid after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would extend lockdown in some areas beyond May 15. 

Indonesian shares fell 0.8%, dragged lower by financials. Retail sales, an indicator of domestic demand in Southeast Asia's largest economy, contracted by 4.5% in March from a year earlier. 

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