Most SE Asia stocks drop on delayed recovery fears

Most SE Asia stocks drop on delayed recovery fears

An SGX sign is pictured at Singapore Exchange July 19, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
An SGX sign is pictured at Singapore Exchange July 19, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday as fears of a delay in economic recovery due to rising coronavirus cases in countries easing lockdowns were exacerbated by dour outlook from the US Federal Reserve chairman.

All three major US stock indexes ended lower overnight after Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned of an "extended period" of weak economic growth, pointing to uncertainty over how well future outbreaks of the virus can be controlled. 

Warnings of prolonged economic weakness by Fed chair Jerome Powell further dampened sentiment this week, weighing on Wall Street and likewise to drag Asia markets lower into the end of week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG. 

Adding to worries over the pandemic, the World Health Organization said the coronavirus may never go away.

The benchmark Stock Exchange of Thailand index was down 0.89% at 11.40am.

Shares in Singapore, a bellwether for global trade, fell 1.4% to their lowest level since April 27. Consumer stocks dominated the losses, with agri-business group Wilmar International falling 2.3%, while Resort operator Genting Singapore slipped 2% after quarterly earnings tumbled. 

The Philippine index dropped 0.8%, set for a third straight session of losses. The country's government said on Wednesday gross domestic product is expected to decline 2% to 3.4% this year, the first contraction in more than two decades. Shares of conglomerate GT Capital dropped 3.1%, while those of Ayala Corp were trading 2.8% lower after it posted a 17% drop in first-quarter profit. 

In Malaysia, the benchmark edged 0.3% lower after data showed on Wednesday the economy will contract in the second quarter as the coronavirus hits exports and domestic demand. Among top losers were palm oil planter Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, which slid 3.1%, and Malaysia Airports down 2.8%.

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