* Vietnam March CPI likely down 0.21 pct m/m - govt data
* Thailand's pro-army party wins popular vote
By Shanima A
March 28 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
closed higher on Thursday as report that Washington and Beijing
were making headway on their talks on trade helped bolster
sentiment, after recent sessions of steep sell-offs over global
Investors awaited the outcome of the next round of talks due
later in the day, on the backdrop of a Reuters report that both
economies have made progress in all areas under discussion in
trade talks, but sticking points still remain.
Separately, China's Premier Li Keqiang said he does not
think there is any trust deficit between Beijing and Washington,
and the country will sharply expand market access especially in
its financial services sector.
"Near-term direction of the market is very much dependent on
a trade resolution between the U.S. and China. Trade resolution
will boost confidence that global growth has troughed," said,
Paul Chew Kuan Leng, Head Of Research, Phillip Securities
Leading the gains in the regional markets, Vietnam shares
ended 0.7 percent firmer, boosted by strength in the real
estate sector, with Vinhomes JSC adding 3.3 percent.
Government data showed that the country's Consumer Price
Index (CPI) is likely 0.21 percent lower in March, compared with
the previous month.
Singapore shares ended 0.2 percent firmer. Casino
operator Genting Singapore Ltd closed 1 percent
higher, while conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd
edged 0.4 percent higher.
Thai shares closed 0.3 percent higher, after the
Election Commission said the pro-army party won the popular vote
in general election.
The pro-army Palang Pracharat Party gained 8.4 million
ballots, while the main opposition Pheu Thai Party got 7.9
million vote, the election commission said.
Shares of Airports of Thailand PCL were among the
top gainers on the index, while telecom provider Advanced Info
Service PCL closed 1.1 percent firmer.
Meanwhile, a senior Thai central bank official said the
country's monetary policy committee did not "close the door" on
raising interest rates this year.
The Malaysian benchmark index was the only outlier,
ending 0.1 percent lower.
The index extended declines to close at its lowest in more
than three months after the Malaysian central bank projected a
gloomy growth outlook for this year.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3203.58 3198.39 0.16
Bangkok 1634.25 1629.4 0.30
Manila 7876.4 7861.05 0.20
Jakarta 6480.788 6444.738 0.56
Kuala Lumpur 1641.33 1642.73 -0.09
Ho Chi Minh 982.98 975.91 0.72
Change on year
Market Current End 2017 Pct Move
Singapore 3203.58 3068.76 4.39
Bangkok 1634.25 1563.88 4.50
Manila 7876.4 8558.42 -7.97
Jakarta 6480.788 6194.498 4.62
Kuala Lumpur 1641.33 1690.58 -2.91
Ho Chi Minh 982.98 984.24 -0.13
($1 = 0.8885 euros)
(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry