SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Thailand rise as coronavirus fears fade; Malaysia falls

By Arundhati Dutta

* Singapore leads gainers, up as much as 1.1% * Malaysia slips; Q4 GDP growth at decade low * Indonesia down 0.8%, hits over 1-week low By Arundhati Dutta Feb 12 (Reuters) - Singapore and Thailand stock markets rose on Wednesday on hopes that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak might be over, while Malaysia shares declined as economic growth in the fourth quarter slowed to a decade-low. Indonesian shares fell to a more than one-week low. China's senior medical advisor said on Tuesday the virus outbreak may be over by April as the number of new cases from Hubei, the centre of the epidemic, was at its lowest since Jan. 31. "As investors continue to assess the economic damage the new coronavirus, the hopes of greater policy support by central banks are on the rise," economists at ING said in a note. Singapore stocks added as much as 1.1% and were on track for a second straight day of gains. Big caps Jardine Strategic Holdings and Jardine Cycle & Carriage added up to 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively. Last week, the country's central bank said it has room to ease its monetary policy if needed amid the weakening economic conditions due to the virus outbreak. Thai shares were on track for their best day in a week, underpinned by gains in financials and energy stocks. Improvement in the epidemic situation in China would be a boon for Thailand as its economy is dependant on tourism and trade. The Siam Commercial Bank and petroleum distributor PTT Pcl gained up to 1% and 1.2%, respectively. The Vietnamese index added as much as 0.8% on financials. The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade rose over 2%. Malaysian equities was marginally lower as data showed the country's economic growth slumped to a decade-low of 3.6% in the fourth quarter. The pace of expansion was well below the 4.2% rise forecast in a Reuters poll. The Indonesian bourse dropped as much as 0.9%, weighed by consumer stocks. Instant noodles maker PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur Tbk shed over 5%. The country's health minister on Tuesday said Indonesia was not hiding any coronavirus cases, after medical researchers in the United Statessaid in a study that lack of confirmed cases "may suggest the potential for undetected cases". Indonesia is the only country in Southeast Asia that has not reported a confirmed case of coronavirus infection. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0407 GMT Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 3207.35 3175.57 1.00 Bangkok 1536.99 1523.93 0.86 Manila 7405.51 7439.4 -0.46 Jakarta 5902.537 5954.397 -0.87 Kuala Lumpur 1549.18 1551.48 -0.15 Ho Chi Minh 939.86 934.67 0.56 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3207.35 3222.83 -0.48 Bangkok 1536.99 1579.84 -2.71 Manila 7405.51 7,815.26 -5.24 Jakarta 5902.537 6,299.54 -6.30 Kuala Lumpur 1549.18 1588.76 -2.49 Ho Chi Minh 939.86 960.99 -2.20 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Arun Koyyur)