SE Asia Stocks: Rise on trade war thaw; Philippines up ahead of cenbank meet

By Reuters   December 13, 2018 | 02:48 pm GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks: Rise on trade war thaw; Philippines up ahead of cenbank meet
A marble sculpture of a bull placed in front of the Hanoi Stock Exchange in Hanoi. Photo by Shutterstock
Southeast Asian markets climbed tracking broader Asia as Sino-U.S. trade worries softened.

As a sign of easing tensions between the world's two major economies, Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, in the first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months.

U.S. President Donald Trump's comments on chances of continuing trade talks with China also helped boost sentiment.

With inflation seen easing, Philippine's apex bank is widely expected to keep interest rates steady, after five consecutive raises, in its meeting to be held later in the day, a Reuters poll showed.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has raised interest rates by a total 175 basis points, so far this year, in the past five consecutive meetings.

"However, we cannot rule out another 25bp rate hike to end the year as insurance against the return of inflationary pressures. Another rate hike will be supportive of the PHP," Maybank said in a note. 

Financial stocks led the gains in the Philippine index, with lenders BDO Unibank climbing 2.6 percent and Bank of the Philippine Islands hitting a one-week top. 

In broader Asia, the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, was up more than 1 percent by midday tracking Wall Street.

Vietnam stocks touched a nearly one-month high, buoyed by gains in consumer staples and real estate sectors, with milk product processor Vietnam Dairy Products JSC climbing 1.5 percent and realtor Vingroup JSC hitting its highest in more than 10 weeks. 

Indonesia's benchmark index rose to its highest since April 25, propped up on the back of consumer discretionary and telecom shares. 

Shares in Singapore extended gains for a second session, while Malaysia's benchmark was near a one-week high. 

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