Most Southeast Asian stocks fall on China slowdown worries; trade gloom
By Shreya Mariam Job
(Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday, with Vietnam taking the biggest hit, as fears of slowing growth in China and dwindling hopes of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks dampened the trading sentiment.
Investors across broader Asia were wary about slowing growth in China and paling expectations of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to work towards a resolution to a prolonged trade war.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had slipped 0.6% after two days of gains.
Meanwhile, China's factory inflation slowed in May as faltering manufacturing hit demand, reinforcing worries about cooling growth in the world's second-largest economy, while a surge in food prices could add to consumer grievances about living costs.
Leading declines in the region, Vietnam's benchmark index shed 0.8%, with real estate and financial stocks dragging the index. Shares of Petrovietnam Gas JSC lost 2.4% while Vingroup JSC dipped 0.9%.
The country had a trade deficit of $1.3 billion in May, matching the government's forecast, customs data showed after market hours on Tuesday.
Indonesian stocks fell 0.5%, snapping a four- session rally.
Financial and telecom stocks contributed to the losses with Bank Central Asia Tbk Pt down 1.1% and Telekomunikasi Indonesia, which was trading ex-dividend from Wednesday, down 2.0%.
Indonesia's central bank sees economic growth of 5.1-5.5% in 2020, while continuing to monitor global economic conditions to assess whether there is scope for an "accommodative monetary policy", Bank Indonesia governor Perry Warjiyo said.
Meanwhile, Singapore's index reversed course to fall 0.1%, ending a winning streak of four consecutive gains.
"Hard for traders to take any aggressive stance on the market, especially with an upcoming event, which is the meeting between President Trump and Xi," said Paul Chew, head of research at Phillip Securities Research.
The country's retail sales fell 1.8% in April from the previous year, showing a decline in consumer spending and thereby domestic demand.
Consumer stock Thai Beverage PCL shed 1.8%.
The index was also weighed by industrial and real estate stocks with Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd dropping 1% and Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd sliding 2.9%.
Meanwhile, Thailand's index ended marginally higher helped by gains in financials and telecom stocks.
The Philippine stock market was closed for a holiday.
(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)