Most Southeast Asian stocks rise as trade war fears fade

A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing the graph of the recent fluctuations of Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters pic)

BENGALURU: Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, in line with broader Asia on continued relief that the recent tit-for-tat tariffs by the United States and China were less harsh than feared.

After a knee-jerk negative reaction to the new tariffs announced by Washington and Beijing on Tuesday, markets have been speculating that an immediate escalation could be averted.

US President Donald Trump has not made fresh threats that he would seek to extend tariffs to all Chinese imports, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said this week he would not weaken the yuan to boost exports.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial rose on Wednesday.

Indonesian shares rose for a second session in a row and closed 1% higher, helped by financial and material stocks.

Bank Mandiri climbed 4.3%, while Unilever Indonesia added 0.9%.

An index of the country’s 45 most liquid stocks gained 1.6%.

Malaysian shares closed higher for a second consecutive session with Genting Malaysia adding 1.5% while Hong Leong Bank gained 0.7%.

Singapore and Thai shares rose marginally.

Meanwhile, Philippine stocks fell 1.2%, extending their falls into a third session and posting their lowest close since June 28, weighed down by industrials.

SM Investments Corp and Aboitiz Equity Ventures plunged 3.2% and 4%, respectively.

“Investors are worried that the recent typhoon, which damaged crops of about 17 billion pesos (US$314.29 million), might put pressure on inflation,” said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc.

The Philippine central bank meets on Sept 27, and is likely to raise interest rates for a fourth time this year in a bid to tame a nearly decade-high inflation and support the local