SE Asia Stocks-Most gain on prospects of policy easing

By Niyati Shetty

* Singapore rises ahead of exports data on Wed * Philippines extends gains to 16-month high * Thailand closed for holiday By Niyati Shetty July 16 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday on expectations of further monetary policy easing by global central banks, while concerns over palm oil exports to the European Union weighed on Malaysian shares. Singapore shares added as much as 0.4% ahead of key non-oil domestic exports (NODX) data due on Wednesday. After a vastly weaker-than-expected second-quarter growth reading last week, investors will watch the island's export data for any further signs of weakness in the economy. "The sustained deep declines in NODX depressing GDP growth are bringing the Monetary Authority of Singapore closer to reducing or even flattening the SGD-NEER appreciation path, possibly even earlier than the October meeting," ING said in a note on Friday. Lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd advanced 0.7% and conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd gained 0.4%. Philippine stocks extended gains, rising 0.6% to a 16-month high, on rate-cut hopes. The central bank governor, Benjamin Diokno, said the bank had greater liberty to ease policy in the third quarter due to easing inflation and a dovish U.S. Federal Reserve, the Philippine Star reported on Monday. Meanwhile, a likely U.S. rate cut by the end of this month is still under the spotlight, as investors await U.S. retail sales data due later in the day and more corporate earnings results to further gauge the health of the economy. Vietnam shares rose 0.6%, boosted by financial and real estate stocks. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam added 2.1%, while Vinhomes JSC gained 0.7%. Malaysian shares declined as much as 0.3%, with palm oil giant Sime Darby Bhd shedding 0.9%, while Kuala Lumpur Kepong lost 0.4%. The world's second-biggest palm oil producer and exporter after Indonesia said it would file a complaint to the World Trade Organisation by November to challenge a move by the European Union to phase out palm oil from being used in transport fuels in the bloc. Indonesian shares fell 0.3%, dragged by the financial sector. Insurer PT Sinar Mas Multiartha Tbk and lender Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT were down 8% and 1.8%, respectively. Thai financial markets were closed for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0318 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3357.74 3347.95 0.29 Manila 8416 8365.29 0.61 Jakarta 6401.726 6418.234 -0.26 Kuala Lumpur 1668.93 1672.37 -0.21 Ho Chi Minh 977.94 972.53 0.56 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3357.74 3068.76 9.42 Manila 8416 7,466.02 12.72 Jakarta 6401.726 6,194.50 3.35 Kuala Lumpur 1668.93 1690.58 -1.28 Ho Chi Minh 977.94 892.54 9.57 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)