SE Asia Stocks-Thailand, Singapore drop as virus cases outside China jump

By Arundhati Dutta

* Indonesia c.bank cuts rates, lowers 2020 growth forecast * Thailand hits over 3-yr closing low By Arundhati Dutta Feb 20 (Reuters) - Shares in coronavirus-hit economies of Singapore and Thailand lost footing on Thursday as a sharp jump in infections outside mainland China overshadowed Beijing's widely-anticipated interest rate cut. China on Thursday reported a sharp drop in new virus cases, however, infections in South Korea jumped, two deaths were recorded in Japan and research showed that the pathogen was more contagious than previously believed. Thai shares fell 1% to a more than three-year low, with Airports of Thailand, the top drag on the index, slumping 4.8% after flagging a 5% decline in its full-year revenue due to the impact of the virus. Last week, Thai authorities said tourist numbers this year could fall 12% due to the outbreak. The country's central bank had also warned that economy will grow at a much slower pace than previously forecast this year. The bleak outlook for 2020 growth continues to weigh on the index, said Mongkol Puangpetra, head of research at KTB Securities (Thailand). Singaporean shares closed 0.5% lower. Heavyweight financials United Overseas Bank and DBS Group Holdings shed 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively. Local media reported https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/coronavirus-3-new-cases-two-linked-to-existing-church-clusters-five-more-patients that three new cases of the virus were confirmed in the city-state on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infected to 84 - one of the highest tallies outside China. Singapore, one of the countries outside China hit hardest by the virus, on Tuesday announced around $4.5 billion in financial packages to help contain outbreak's economic impact. Indonesian equities eked out small gains as the central bank cut interest rates to support an economy jolted by a the epidemic, which also prompted Bank Indonesia to lower its 2020 growth outlook. Earlier in the day, China lowered its benchmark lending rate, in a widely expected move. On the upside, shares in Vietnam ended 1% higher on the back of real estate stocks. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3198.68 3213.71 -0.47 Bangkok 1491.24 1505.54 -0.95 Manila 7413 7396.94 0.22 Jakarta 5942.487 5928.791 0.23 Kuala Lumpur 1534.98 1534.16 0.05 Ho Chi Minh 938.13 928.76 1.01 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3198.68 3222.83 -0.75 Bangkok 1491.24 1579.84 -5.61 Manila 7413 7,815.26 -5.15 Jakarta 5942.487 6,299.54 -5.67 Kuala Lumpur 1534.98 1588.76 -3.39 Ho Chi Minh 938.13 960.99 -2.38 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Aditya Soni)