SE Asia Stocks-Philippines marks biggest drop in history, others fall on coronavirus panic

By Arpit Nayak

* Philippines sees biggest intraday loss ever * Indonesia hits fourth circuit breaker in six sessions * Singapore headed for seventh consecutive session of losses By Arpit Nayak March 19 (Reuters) - Philippines plunged 24% on Thursday on reopening after a two-day hiatus, while other Southeast Asian stock markets also sustained heavy losses on fears over the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The Philippine bourse opened 12.4% lower, triggering the first 10% circuit breaker following which a 15-minute trading halt was placed within minutes of the opening bell. On resuming trade, the index fell 24.3%, marking its biggest intraday percentage fall on record and hitting its lowest level in nearly eight and a half years. With regards to Asia market, it appears that a downtrend continues to be the case, said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG, in a note. "... With the overtly weak sentiment in the market on the back of the global coronavirus fears, riskier Asia could remain unfavoured by the market in the short-term." Financial markets have been heavily hit over the past month as coordinated efforts from major central banks to blunt the hit of the virus that has now infected more than 210,000 people, shutdown countries and halted business activities, failed to calm jittery investors. Philippines has imposed strict quarantine measures across the island of Luzon, where capital Manila is located, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. The country's central bank is expected to cut interest rates when it meets later in the day. Indonesia's central bank is also widely expected to slash its key policy rate on Thursday. Indonesian equities fell 5%, triggering a circuit breaker for the fourth time in six sessions. Financial and consumer stocks were the biggest losers, with Bank Central Asia and household goods maker Unilever Indonesia falling about 7% each. Singapore shares dropped 4.3%, heading for a seventh straight session of losses. Lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings lost 4.2% and 11.7%, respectively. Malysian stocks slid 1.8% and is set for a sixth consecutive session of losses, as the country observes a two-week partial lockdown. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0304 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2325.18 2425.62 -4.14 Bangkok 1013.59 1048.15 -3.30 Manila 4419.56 5335.37 -17.16 Jakarta 4113.647 4330.674 -5.01 Kuala Lumpur 1218.12 1239.01 -1.69 Ho Chi Minh 719.34 747.66 -3.79 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2325.18 3222.83 -27.85 Bangkok 1013.59 1579.84 -35.84 Manila 4419.56 7,815.26 -43.45 Jakarta 4113.647 6,299.54 -34.70 Kuala Lumpur 1218.12 1588.76 -23.33 Ho Chi Minh 719.34 960.99 -25.15 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)