SE Asia Stocks-Most end higher as central banks turn dovish

By Niyati Shetty

* Thailand up; May CPI +1.15% y/y, above forecast * Philippines down 1.7%, snaps 5 sessions of gains By Niyati Shetty June 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Tuesday as central banks across the globe tilt towards monetary easing in the wake of an intensifying U.S.-China trade war and weak economic indicators. Australia's central bank cut its cash rate to a record low of 1.25%, a day after a Federal Reserve policymaker said the U.S. central bank might have to cut rates soon. U.S. Treasury yields tumbled on Monday since investors seeking protection from market volatility looked outside for better returns. "As lower for longer becomes the theme in the developed market space, investors will look to Asia for yield," DBS Bank said in note to clients. Thai shares rose 1.1%, the most since Jan. 7, aided by industrials and consumer staples. Data released earlier in the day showed that annual headline consumer price index rose 1.15% year-on-year in May, above a Reuters poll forecast of 1.0% increase, but below April's 1.23% rise. The central bank has left its policy interest rate unchanged so far this year after tightening in December for the first time since 2011, as inflation remains benign and growth slows. ANZ said in a note that it expected "the Bank of Thailand to forego any remaining hawkish bias and keep its policy rate on hold throughout 2019." Airports of Thailand PCL rose 2% and CP All PCL gained 2.5%. Singapore shares advanced 0.6%, supported by financials. DBS Group Holdings Ltd gained 0.9% and United Overseas Bank Ltd added 1.7%. With an almost 10% month-on-month decline last month, banking stocks are now offering attractive dividend yields, KGI Securities said in a note. Vietnam shares added 0.5%, boosted by financials and consumer staples. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam and Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp rose 4.6% and 1.1%, respectively. Philippine shares declined 1.7% and snapped five straight sessions of gains, weighed down by real estate stocks. Ayala Land Inc slipped 3.7% and SM Prime Holdings Inc lost 3.1%. Malaysian shares fell 0.7% in half-day trade. The market will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for holidays. Indonesian financial markets are closed for holidays this week. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3142.37 3123.46 0.61 Bangkok 1637.69 1620.22 1.08 Manila 7945.37 8084.88 -1.73 Kuala Lumpur 1644.09 1655.31 -0.68 Ho Chi Minh 951.16 946.47 0.50 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3142.37 3068.76 2.40 Bangkok 1637.69 1563.88 4.72 Manila 7945.37 7,466.02 6.42 Kuala Lumpur 1644.09 1690.58 -2.75 Ho Chi Minh 951.16 892.54 6.57 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)