SE Asia Stocks-Rise on Sino-U.S. trade truce; dismal China data caps gains

By Sameer Manekar

* China's Sept exports, imports in deeper contraction * Singapore's central bank eases monetary policy * Malaysia widens fiscal deficit target, promises stimulus By Sameer Manekar Oct 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday as signs of progress in the Sino-U.S. trade standoff boosted risk sentiment, while gains were limited as dismal data from China, the region's biggest trading partner, pointed to weakness in the economy. China's exports fell at a faster pace in September, while imports contracted for a fifth straight month, pointing to further weakness in the economy and underlining the need for more stimulus as the Sino-U.S. trade war drags on. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday had outlined the first phase of a deal and suspended the tariff hike threatened to be imposed on Tuesday, raising hopes of an end to a long drawn-out trade war with China that has hurt global economic growth. "Until the deal is signed, and there's enough compliance and follow-through that appease all stakeholders, investors can't fully rule out the risk of another flare-up in the U.S.-China trade tensions. Such a risk warrants an air of caution among investors for the time being," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. Broader Asian markets also gained, as investors welcomed signs that talks to resolve the U.S.-China trade row were moving to the next level, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 1.1% in light trade. The Malaysian benchmark index extended gains for a third straight session, after the government announced a smaller-than-expected budget for next year but said it would step in with stimulus measures should global demand worsen. Energy shipping provider MISC Bhd was the biggest gainer in the index, rising 4.2% to hit its highest in nearly three-and-a-half years. Meanwhile, Singapore's Straits Times index gained after the central bank eased its monetary policy. The drag from the trade war was a major reason the Monetary Authority of Singapore eased its monetary policy for the first time in three years as data showed the city-state's economy had only narrowly dodged recession. Thai Beverage PCL, the biggest gainer in the index, climbed 2.3% to see its best session in a week. Indonesian stocks hit their highest in nearly two weeks, with PT Bank Central Asia, the biggest stock by market capitalisation in the index, marking its strongest in more than two months. Philippine stocks rose 0.5%, with real-estate firm Ayala Corp gaining 1.2%. Thailand markets were closed on Monday for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0430 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3125.16 3113.97 0.36 Manila 7885.87 7849.94 0.46 Jakarta 6134.189 6105.8 0.46 Kuala Lumpur 1565.77 1556.84 0.57 Ho Chi Minh 994.46 991.84 0.26 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3125.16 3068.76 1.84 Bangkok 1626 1563.88 3.97 Manila 7885.87 7,466.02 5.62 Jakarta 6134.189 6,194.50 -0.97 Kuala Lumpur 1565.77 1690.58 -7.38 Ho Chi Minh 994.46 892.54 11.42 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)