SE Asia Stocks-Philippines suspends markets as virus spreads; others fall sharply

By Arpit Nayak

* Singapore hits lowest in more than 10-1/2 years * Malaysia declines to lowest in over a decade By Arpit Nayak March 17 (Reuters) - The Philippines closed its financial markets on Tuesday in response to the coronavirus, while other Southeast Asian stock markets fell sharply following one of Wall Street's biggest one-day routs in history. The shutdown by the Philippines comes after some bourses around the world closed trading floors or paused trade after withering falls in market value, but it is the first blanket market halt and raises the prospect other exchanges may follow. Broader Asian markets also declined in a volatile session as headlines about the virus and its global economic impact jolted investor sentiment. Overnight, Wall Street suffered its biggest drop since the 1987 'Black Monday' stock market crash as sell-offs ensued on fears that more limitations on personal movement may be in order. "The main worry seems to be the central banks running out of policy space needed to combat the impact of the virus," ING analysts said in a note. "And this now calls for a coordinated fiscal response by the governments." Singapore shares fell as much as 1.4% to their lowest in more than 10-1/2 years. The city-state posted a surprise 3% rise in February non-oil domestic exports on the back of increased shipments of electronics and specialised machinery. Losses in financials overshadowed gains in industrials, with lender DBS Group Holdings shedding 2.6% to a three-year low, while conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings gained nearly 6.5%. Malaysian equities dropped 5.4% to their lowest in almost 10-1/2 years as the country cordoned off its borders, curtailed internal movement, closed schools and universities, and ordered most businesses to shut after a spike in virus cases. Meanwhile, the government added $230 million to its stimulus package to combat the economic impact of the virus. Indonesian stocks declined more than 4% to their lowest in over four years, with losses across all sectors. Thai shares slipped 0.7% in a volatile session, with real estate and financials leading the decline. The cabinet is set to meet later in the day to approve shutdowns of universities, public and private schools, kick-boxing rings, cockfighting arenas, bars and theatres. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0321 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2472.22 2495.77 -0.94 Bangkok 1041.35 1046.08 -0.45 Jakarta 4470.56 4690.657 -4.69 Kuala Lumpur 1243.47 1280.63 -2.90 Ho Chi Minh 736.11 747.86 -1.57 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2472.22 3222.83 -23.29 Bangkok 1041.35 1579.84 -34.09 Manila 5335.37 7,815.26 -31.73 Jakarta 4470.56 6,299.54 -29.03 Kuala Lumpur 1243.47 1588.76 -21.73 Ho Chi Minh 736.11 960.99 -23.40 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)