SE Asia Stocks-Philippine gains in worst month since late 2008


BANGKOK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Philippine shares rose on

Friday, further clawing back losses this week and outperforming

in the region, amid economic optimism, while Indonesian stocks

extended gains after the country's central bank took steps to

shore up the rupiah.

The Philippine index was up 2.2 percent, adding to

Thursday's 3.6 percent gain after upbeat second quarter GDP data

and a strong economic outlook, making it the country with the

most sound fundamentals in the region.

Philippine shares lost 8.5 percent on the month, their worst

since October 2008.

Trading on the Philippine stock exchange was relatively

heavy, led by SM Investments Corp, the country's

second-biggest firm by market value. SM Investments rose 1.4

percent on a trading volume of nearly 11 times the full-day's

average over the past 30 sessions.

Jakarta's Composite Index climbed 1.2 percent,

extending its gains over the past two sessions, helped by short

covering in beaten-down big caps like Astra International


Bank Indonesia announced on Thursday increases of 50 basis

points for two key interest rates and forecast that the current

account deficit would narrow in the third quarter.

Analysts expect the Jakarta rally to be short-lived.

"Over the medium term, a higher interest rate will force the

economy to slow, which resulted in slower earnings growth

realisation for corporates," said Jakarta-based strategist

Chandra Pasaribu of Danareksa Sekuritas.

Jakarta's composite is still poised to record its worst

monthly loss since the Lehman Brothers crisis in late 2008. It

has lost almost 10 percent after recent selloffs, turning it

into one of Asia's top underperformers.

The Thai SET index was down 0.3 percent, on track

for a 9.3 percent loss on the month, the worst since September


Thailand had a current account deficit of $700 million in

July, slightly larger than the previous month's gap, and exports

fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier, the central bank reported

on Friday.

Stocks in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam

edged higher, tracking other Asian markets as a possible

U.S. military strike on Syria appeared less likely.

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Change at 0800 GMT

Market Current Prev Close Pct Move

TR SE Asia Index* 380.33 377.28 +0.81

Singapore 3038.53 3038.03 +0.02

Kuala Lumpur 1721.04 1703.78 +1.01

Bangkok 1288.11 1292.53 -0.34

Jakarta 4155.41 4103.59 +1.23

Manila 6075.17 5944.21 +2.20

Ho Chi Minh 472.70 468.55 +0.89

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