"SET ends flat, Malaysia stocks lead losses in Asean"
BANGKOK, February 8 -- Thai shares lost slightly on Friday, while Malaysia stocks led losses, as investors were rattled after the United States dismissed the likelihood of a quick resolution to the long drawn Sino-US trade war.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would not be meeting China's Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, sparking fears that two economies would not be able to clinch a pivotal trade deal.
The negative sentiment dampened regional markets and pushed broader Asian shares lower, though trading remained thin as China was closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index eased 1.43 points or 0.09% to 1,651.68, in turnover worth 56.86 billion baht. The SET index dropped 16 points shortly after the open before it rebounded to end flat.
The Malaysian index ended 0.4% lower, falling the most across the region. Index heavyweight Axiata Group Bhd fell 4.4% to an over two-month low, dragging the benchmark. According to local media reports Axiata Group and its unit Ncell are to foot a tax bill of 61 billion Nepalese rupees (US$536.03 million), excluding late fees and fines for the capital gains tax on Ncell buyout deal following a Supreme Court ruling.
Philippine stocks fell 0.4%, hurt by losses in financial and telecom stocks. For the week the Manila benchmark index dropped 0.9%, marking its first weekly loss in 2019. PLDT Inc dropped 3.4%, while shares of Bank of the Philippine Islands slid 1.4%.
The Indonesian benchmark closed down 0.2%, with material and energy stocks leading declines. The index marked its first weekly loss in the new year, snapping a rally of six weeks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT dropped 1.9%, while United Tractors Tbk PT slipped 2.9%.
Vietnam's financial markets remained closed this week for Lunar New Year holidays.
"SET drops 5.60 points, Malaysia shares lead Asean peers"
BANGKOK, February 7 -- The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dipped on Thursday, while Malaysia shares led the gains, as optimism over a trade deal between the United States and China were renewed following indications of further official talks in Beijing next week.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he and other US officials would travel to Beijing to continue trade talks, eyeing a deal before the March 2 deadline. China is the biggest trading partner of the region. With easing trade frictions, a dovish Fed and prospects of increased infrastructure spending, foreign investors are now returning to Southeast Asian markets, propelling these markets to record an upward trend for the most part. So far this year, foreign investors have been net buyers of stocks in markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The SET index eased 5.60 points or 0.34% to 1,653.11, in turnover of 50 billion baht. The index was dragged by consumer and health care stocks. Shares of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc lost 30 satang or 1.27% to 23.30 baht and Siam Makro Plc dropped 1.25 baht or 3.29% to 36.75 baht.
The Malaysian benchmark rose 0.6%, leading gains in the region after thin trading in the region this week due to a two-day closure on account of the Chinese New Year. Utilities and consumer cyclicals boosted the Malaysian benchmark index, with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Maxis Bhd climbing 3.7% and 2.5%, respectively.
The Singapore index gained 0.5% to its highest level since Jan 25, helped by telecom and industrial stocks. "Singapore equities has some catching up to do as the US markets have done well over the last two trading sessions. At the same time, traders are also placing bets ahead of the budget on February 18, 2019," said Liu Jinshu, head of research at Tayrona Financial Pte Ltd. Shares of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd gained 1% while those of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd firmed 1.3%.
The Philippine stock index climbed 0.5%, with gains concentrated in industrial stocks. SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc gained over 2% each. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday, saying inflation risk had fallen on lower crude oil and food prices. Indonesian stocks also ended the session slightly lower, hurt by consumer and financial stocks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT slipped 2.8%, while Bank Central Asia Tbk PT slid 0.5%.
Vietnam financial markets remained closed for Chinese New Year holidays.
"Indonesia stocks end at 11-month high, SET adds 5 points"
BANGKOK, February 6 -- Indonesian stocks surged more than 1% to close at an 11-month high on Wednesday, after the country posted a faster-than- expected GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Thai shares added 5.62 points to close above the 1,6500 mark.
Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the final quarter of 2018 expanded 5.18% from a year earlier, compared with 5.11% forecast in a Reuters poll, while for the year the economy grew 5.17%, marking its best in five years. The country's benchmark index ended 1.02% higher, its highest level since March 5, 2018. Telecom and material stocks were the biggest boost to the index, with Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Perusahaan Perseroan PT and Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT rising 2.1% and 2%, respectively.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index gained 5.62 points or 0.34% to 1,658.71, in turnover of 38.5 billion baht. The index was driven by financial and material stocks and the Bank of Thailand's decision to hold benchmark interest rates steady. Kasikornbank Plc added 2 baht or 1% to 202 baht and Siam Commercial Bank Plc gained 2.50 baht or 1.89% to 135 baht. Shares of Siam Cement Group Plc firmed 6 baht or 1.29% to 470 baht.
Philippine index reversed course and slipped from 10-and-a-half-month high hit earlier in the session to close marginally lower. Industrial stocks dragged the index, with SM Investment Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc slipping 1.7% and 3.7%, respectively. "I would say it (the reason for the fall) is profit taking for the lack of any news to suggest otherwise," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL financial. He added that good inflation rates had pushed the index earlier in the day. The country's inflation had eased in the month of January, supporting views that the central bank would leave interest rates on hold on at its meeting on Thursday.
Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore stock markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
"Manila leads Asean bourses, SET ends higher"
BANGKOK, February 1 -- Philippine shares rose 1.7%, helped by foreign investor buying and as the latest round of Sino-US trade talks kept hopes of a comprehensive trade deal alive, while Thai stocks closed 0.59% higher on Friday.
The latest round of Sino-US trade talks ended on a positive note, with US President Donald Trump saying he was optimistic that the two nations could reach "the biggest deal ever made." The benchmark Philippine stock index was the biggest gainer in the region, boosted by financials and industrials. BDO Unibank climbed 3.7% and SM Investment Corp added 2.5%. Philippine shares advanced 1.1% this week in their fifth consecutive weekly gain. "Foreign buying in the Philippines has been consistent over the last few weeks, and for today the biggest driver would be foreign inflows towards emerging markets," said Charles William Ang, an analyst with COL Financial Group. Foreign investors bought net 1.02 billion pesos (US$19.54 million) worth shares on Friday and 5.75 billion pesos this week, according to Refinitiv data. Investors now await January inflation data and the central bank's monetary policy review due next week. Inflation had cooled more than expected in December, reinforcing views that the central bank is done raising interest rates.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index rose 9.67 points or 0.6% to 1,651.40, after data showed January's headline inflation rate was below the Bank of Thailand's target range of 1-4% for a third straight month. The BoT will review borrowing rates next week. The central bank governor had said in January that the country's accommodative monetary policy is still needed to support the economy. PTT Plc gained 1 baht or 2% to 49.50 baht, while Airports of Thailand Plc climbed 75 satang or 1.09% to 69.75 baht.
Indonesian shares closed 0.1% higher after rising as much as 0.8% earlier, as losses in telecom stocks offset gains in financials. Indonesian shares gained 0.9% for the week, marking their sixth straight weekly rise. Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) rose 1.8% to close at a record high, while Charoen Pokphand Indonesia jumped 4.4%. Indonesia's annual consumer inflation in January slowed more than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed.
The Malaysian stock market was closed for a holiday.
JAKARTA, January 5 -- Despite their dependence on plastic bags, Jakartans mostly agree with the city administration’s plan to issue a policy restricting plastic bag use, according to a survey conducted by the Jakarta Environment Agency.
“Nearly 80 percent surveyed agreed with a plastic ban and were also willing to carry their own bags [while shopping],” Waste management division head at the agency, Rahmawati, told tempo.co. on Thursday. The survey on the public’s perception of the plastic ban was conducted door-to-door with most respondents being housewives. However, the agency did not provide details on the number of respondents surveyed. Rahmawati said the survey was launched as part of preparations for the new gubernatorial decree on single-use plastic restrictions expected to be signed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan this month.
The initiative was taken following Jakarta’s constant waste woes that stand at 2.5 million tons per year. From the figure, 357,000 tons is plastic waste. Single-use plastic bags contribute 1,900 to 2,400 tons of waste per year, which equals 300 million plastic bags. Agency head Isnawa Adji said he had submitted the decree draft to Anies. He expressed hope that the draft could be signed as soon as possible to start the plastic ban in the city. Anies said the draft of the decree still needed corrections. He aimed at implementing the ban while designating a substitute for plastic. “Housewives would be troublesome if we don’t prepare the substitute for plastic,” he said on Thursday.
"Philippine shares top gainer, Vietnam stocks sink"
BANGKOK, January 3 -- Philippine shares rallied on Thursday on expectations of positive inflation data, while stocks in technology export reliant Vietnam sank to an over one-year low after iPhone maker Apple Inc cut its sales forecast.
Apple's move to cut its quarterly sales forecast blaming slowing iPhone sales in China sent US stock futures and Asian shares tumbling, with MSCI's broadest gauge of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.6%.
Vietnam's index was the top loser in the region, plunging 1.5% to an over one year closing low.
"Vietnam is tightly caught up in the tech story. We are becoming a very large tech hub for a lot of the outflow from tech companies based in China," said Fiachra Mac Cana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities. Vietnam is the largest smartphone production base for South Korean mobile phone giant Samsung Electronics, while the country's largest earner from exports are smartphones.
"For us, it's like if demand for iPhones are weak, will demand for Samsung phones also be weak then? Yes, very easily. All of that makes the Vietnamese market a complete risk off environment right now," he added.
Singapore's benchmark index also tumbled, with electronic equipment maker Venture Corp among top percentage losers, shedding 1.8%. The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dropped 5.91 points or 0.38% to 1,560.03, in trade worth 39 billion baht. The country's energy-heavy index see-sawed throughout the session to end lower, with energy stocks slumping in tandem with falling oil prices amid worries over lower fuel demand in 2019 and surging crude supplies. However, defying the broader Asian downturn was Philippine's index, which soared 2.6% to close at a near one-month high, ahead of inflation data due on Friday. A Reuters poll shows that the country's inflation is expected to cool to a six-month low in December. "Investors were mainly concerned about inflation during 2018... so now we're seeing some buying in the index stocks as there's better expectation on earnings growth," said Rachelle C Cruz, an analyst at AP Securities. Benchmark heavyweight SM Investments Corp's stock rose 4.6%, while that of conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc added 6.2%.
Malaysia's index also rose, with shares of palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Bhd rising 3.5% and those of lender Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd firming 3.2%.
Indonesia's benchmark edged up with household products maker Unilever Indonesia Tbk's counter notching a 2.4% gain, while animal feed producer Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk rose 4%.
"SET index, Philippine stocks cling to meager gains"
BANGKOK, January 2 -- The Stock Exchange of Thailand index and Philippine shares ended slightly higher, while other Southeast Asian markets ended in the red on Wednesday with Malaysia losing the most.
Disappointing Chinese economic data and a barrage of other dismal economic indicators stoked fears of a slowdown. In China -- the region's largest trading partner -- the Caixin/Markit PMI slipped into contraction territory for the first time in 19 months in December, broadly tracking an official survey released on Monday. With the fresh data, together with a fall in industrial profits, and softer retail sales growth in November, "we can confirm that the economy is weakening," Iris Pang, an economist on Greater China at ING said in a note to clients.
China's weakness spilled over to other Asian economies, with Malaysia's manufacturing activity in December shrinking to its weakest pace of expansion since it launched the survey in 2012.
Adding to the worries, official economic data out of export-reliant Singapore showed its gross domestic product grew more slowly than forecast in the fourth quarter as its manufacturing sector contracted on a quarterly basis. The SET index gained 2.06 points or 0.13% to 1,565.94, in trade worth 31 billion baht. The index edged up, with financials and energy stocks underpinning gains.
The Philippine stock market rose as strong gains in real-estate stocks offset losses in most other sectors. Driving the benchmark was heavyweight Ayala Land Inc's counter, which bounced back after falling for two consecutive weeks. Shares of property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc along with Ayala Land were among top boosts to the index, up 3.4% and 1.7%, respectively.
The Malaysian benchmark index was the worst performer in the region, shedding 1.3%, with shares of Sime Darby Plantation Berhad falling 4.4%, while those of oil and gas services provider Dialog Group Berhad ending 3.5% lower.
Singapore's index followed suit, tumbling nearly 1%. Shares of industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd and lender UOL Group Ltd lost 2.4% and 1.9%, respectively.
The Indonesian index also edged lower on the back of material and telecom stocks. Meanwhile, Indonesia's December annual inflation rate eased, but the pace was quicker than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed on Wednesday.
DJAKARTA, December 29 -- The Indonesian volcano which caused a tsunami that killed more than 400 people last week lost more than two-thirds of its height following the eruption which triggered the killer waves.
A section of Anak Krakatoa's crater collapsed after an eruption and slid into the ocean, generating the tsunami last Saturday night. A visual analysis by the Indonesian volcanology agency found the volcano has lost more than two-thirds of its height, an official said Saturday.
Anak Krakatoa which used to stand 338 metres (1,109 feet) high was now just 110 metres tall. The agency estimated the volcano lost between 150 and 180 million cubic metres of material as massive amounts of rock and ash have been slowly sliding into the sea following a series of eruptions. "Anak Krakatoa is now much shorter, usually you can see the peak from the observatory post, now you can't," said Wawan Irawan, a senior official at the agency.
Before and after satellite images taken by Japan's space agency showed that a two square kilometre chunk of the volcanic island had collapsed into the water. The volcano, whose name means Child of Krakatoa, was a new island that emerged around 1928 in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people. The crater's status has been raised to high alert, the second-highest warning on Indonesia four-point danger scale. The exclusion zone has been extended from two to five kilometres (1.2 to three miles). A week after the tsunami, thousands of Indonesian Muslims attended a mass prayer on Saturday to remember the victims and pray for the safety of their tsunami-prone hometown.
Residents of Pandeglang regency, which was hit the hardest by the disaster, gathered in the early morning, some in tears as they chanted their prayers. "I prayed for the victims and I also pray for the safety of the people who live in the tsunami affected area," said Dadan Suryana, a tsunami survivor.
"My prayer is for the victims to get help and be granted patience and I also pray the government will immediately help us to rebuild, to provide clothes and food, or at least to give us moral support," fellow congregant Dian Rosdiana said.
Authorities said at least 426 people were killed and 23 missing in the disaster. Some 7,202 people suffered injuries and nearly 1,300 homes were destroyed after the waves crashed into the coastlines of western Java island and south Sumatra. More than 40,000 people have been evacuated for fear of another tsunami as Anak Krakatoa continues to rumble. Indonesia, a vast Southeast Asian archipelago, is one of the most disaster-hit nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide.
DJAKARTA, December 24 -- More than a thousand people have been injured after a tsunami - caused by the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano.
It struck coastal areas between Sumatra and Java islands on Saturday night, officials say.The death toll from an Indonesian tsunami has risen past 370 with more than 1,400 people injured. The Indonesia disaster agency raised the death toll to at least 373 on Monday. That number could rise further, with 128 people still missing, agency spokesman Sutopopurwo Nugroho said. The tsunami struck Sunda Strait coastal areas along western Java and southern Sumatra islands without warning in the darkness of Saturday night.
Scientists say the tsunami could have been caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano. They also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon. The areas that were affected were South Lampung in Sumatra and the Serang and Pandeglang regions of Java, west of the capital Jakarta. The Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.
Pacific 'Ring of Fire'
Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire', where tectonic plates collide and a large portion of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. The country regularly experiences deadly earthquakes, including most recently in the city of Palu on Sulawesi island where a quake and tsunami killed thousands of people.
Anak Krakatau is one of 127 active volcanoes which run the length of the archipelago.
"Officials believe undersea landslides from volcanic eruption sent wall of water crashing inland around Sunda Strait."
DJAKARTA, December 23 -- At least 168 people have been killed and over 700 injured after a volcano-triggered tsunami hit both sides of Indonesia's Sunda Strait on Saturday.
Sending a wall of water crashing some 20 metres inland and sweeping away hundreds of homes and hotels, officials and witnesses have said. At least 30 more are missing according to the the country's disaster management agency. Scientists from Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency, also known as BMKG, said it could have been caused by undersea landslides from the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano. They also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon. The worst affected area was the Pandeglang region of Banten province in Java, which encompasses the Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said. Of the deaths, 33 were in Pandeglang. In the city of Bandar Lampung on southern Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor's office.
Alif, a resident in Pandeglang district, said the tsunami reached about three metres high. He told MetroTV station that many people were still searching for missing relatives. TV footage showed roads blocked by debris from damaged houses, overturned cars and fallen trees. The water washed away an outdoor stage where a local rock band was performing, killing at least one musician. Others were missing. Authorities warned residents and tourists in coastal areas around the Sunda Strait to stay away from beaches and a high-tide warning remained in place through till December 25.