MOST Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower on Friday after wavering between small gains and losses for most parts of the day, as investors assessed the impact of the coronavirus outbreak after an updated diagnostic method continued to reveal more cases.
China’s National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new virus cases on the mainland on Feb 13, taking the total number of infected to 63,851 people.
Malaysia and Thailand pledged to implement measures to support their economies hit by the outbreak.
Except for Singapore, all markets logged weekly losses at the end of a volatile week where shares rallied at the slightest sign of the epidemic slowing.
A new diagnostic method led to a surge in infections and deaths on Thursday in China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
“The picture in Hubei province has been distorted by the recent revision of data, ” OCBC Treasury Research said in a note.
Singaporean equities were tepid throughout the session, but logged their biggest weekly gain in over three months.
The Thai index gave up early gains to close 0.4% lower, weighed by the utilities sector. Electricity companies Gulf Energy Development Pcl and B.Grimm Power Pcl fell 2.6% and 5.2%, respectively.
Thailand’s economy likely slowed in the last quarter of 2019 as exports were hit by the US-China trade tensions, while full-year growth may have eased to weakest in five years, a poll showed.
Philippine stocks tumbled 1.6% while shares in Vietnam and Indonesia were flat.
Indonesia’s trade deficit is likely to have widened in January, with both exports and imports remaining weak at the start of the year, according to a poll. – Feb 14, 2020, Reuters