SE Asia Stocks-Most gain as Fed stands pat on rates; Singapore jumps 1%

By Arundhati Dutta

* Fed signals no change in interest rates in near future * Singapore Q3 unemployment rate rises to decade high * Philippines falls ahead of cenbank policy decision By Arundhati Dutta Dec 12 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian markets rose on Thursday as the Federal Reserve signalled that interest rates would remain steady for some time amid positive projections for the economy, even as the weekend deadline for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods looms. Moderate economic growth and historically low unemployment are expected to persist through the 2020 presidential election and interest rates would remain accommodative, the U.S. Fed said in its last meeting of the year. "Overall, market seems to be buying the story told by the Fed," OCBC Treasury Research said in a note. Traders are bracing for a series of make-or-break events over the next few days that have the potential to cause huge swings in financial markets for months to come. On the trade war front, U.S. President Donald trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss planned Dec. 15 tariffs on some $160 billion worth of Chinese goods, sources familiar with the matter said. Trade-sensitive Singapore stocks rose as much as 1% to hit their highest in over a week, with United Overseas Bank and DBS Group Holdings lifting the index. Investors appeared to have shrugged off data which showed that the city-state's unemployment rate for the third quarter edged to its highest in almost 10 years. The Malaysian index posted its best session in more than three weeks, with blue caps such as power utility Tenaga Nasional and telecoms player Axiata Group posting modest gains. The bourse advanced ahead of the country's industrial output data for October, which according to a Reuters poll has grown 1.4% on-year. The Thai benchmark, which rebounded from a nearly one-year closing low hit in the previous session, is set to snap a 10-day losing streak on the back of industrial and energy sectors. Bucking the trend, the Philippine index dropped ahead of the central bank's policy decision, which according to a Reuters poll is expected to hold interest rates due to accelerating inflation. Conglomerate Ayala Land slipped 1%, while Globe Telecom lost 1.4%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0316 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3199.29 3172.9 0.83 Bangkok 1559.56 1551.82 0.50 Manila 7758.58 7786.41 -0.36 Jakarta 6181.446 6180.099 0.02 Kuala Lumpur 1569.88 1563.19 0.43 Ho Chi Minh 963.36 961.78 0.16 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3199.29 3068.76 4.25 Bangkok 1559.56 1563.88 -0.28 Manila 7758.58 7,466.02 3.92 Jakarta 6181.446 6,194.50 -0.21 Kuala Lumpur 1569.88 1690.58 -7.14 Ho Chi Minh 963.36 892.54 7.93 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)