SE Asia Stocks-Fall on looming worries of U.S.-China trade spat

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 * Equities hit by White House statement on trade with China * Philippine shares fall most * Thai index gains on energy, financials By Aaron Saldanha March 15 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets lost
ground on Thursday, tracking Wall Street overnight, as trade war
fears intensified on reports U.S. President Donald Trump would
seek fresh tariffs on imports from China. On Wednesday, a White House spokeswoman said the Trump
administration is pressing China to cut its trade surplus with
the United States by $100 billion, without specifying how it
should be narrowed. The surplus-cutting goal may be met by increased purchases
of U.S. products such as soybeans or aircraft, or if China makes
major changes to its industrial policies, cuts subsidies to
state-owned enterprises or further reduces steel and aluminium
capacity. The tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports will
target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people
who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said
on Tuesday. The three major U.S. indexes slipped by as much as 1 percent
on Wednesday, while Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped as much as 0.5 percent as investors
moved to bonds. In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares hit a more than
three-month low, on broad-based losses. BDO Unibank
fell as much as 2.3 percent. Malaysia fell as much as 0.6 percent, weighed down
by consumer staples and financials. Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd fell as much as 11.4 percent. The Singapore index lost 0.6 percent, hurt by losses
in financials and industrials. Lenders DBS Group Holdings Ltd
, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and United
Overseas Bank Ltd fell between 0.6 percent and 1.5
percent. The Indonesian benchmark slipped as much as 0.9
percent to its lowest since early January, on weakness in
financials and telecom stocks. Telekomunikasi Indonesia's fell 1.7 percent,
weighing the most on the index. An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks
lost 0.7 percent. Thai shares rose on strong performance in energy
stocks and financials. Oil and gas company PTT PCL
gained up to 0.7 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change as at 0341 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3516.84 3539.41 -0.64 Bangkok 1816.3 1813.4 0.16 Manila 8270.78 8348.74 -0.93 Jakarta 6350.011 6382.623 -0.51 Kuala Lumpur 1851.99 1857.06 -0.27 Ho Chi Minh 1133.41 1138.09 -0.41 Change on year Market Current End 2017 Pct Move Singapore 3516.84 3402.92 3.35 Bangkok 1816.3 1753.71 3.57 Manila 8270.78 8558.42 -3.36 Jakarta 6350.011 6355.654 -0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1851.99 1796.81 3.07 Ho Chi Minh 1133.41 984.24 15.16 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
Dwarakanath) 

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