* Forecast cut for trade and economic growth hampers
* Malaysia posts second straight session of gains
* Philippines, Vietnam, Thai markets rangebound
By Shreya Mariam Job
April 3 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian markets ended flat
on Wednesday after the World Trade Organization cut its 2019
trade growth estimate and the Asian Development Bank trimmed
regional economic growth forecast, while Singapore closed at a
near eight-month high.
World trade shrank by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of
2018 and is likely to grow by 2.6 percent this year, below a
previous forecast of 3.7 percent, the World Trade Organization
This year's growth forecast for Southeast Asia was trimmed
to 4.9 percent from an earlier estimate of 5.1 percent, as the
Manila-based lender Asian Development Bank expects Malaysia,
Singapore, Philippines and Thailand to grow slower than
Singapore stocks, however, shrugged off worries of a soft
growth forecast as local lenders boosted the index by 1 percent
to its highest close since Aug. 9, 2018.
"Local catalysts for Singapore financials are the rising
SIBOR (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate) and resilient loans
growth. Both will be supportive for bank earnings this year,"
said Paul Chew, head of research, Phillip Securities Research.
Ongoing loans repricing for non-corporate loans continue as
repricing typically lags movements in SIBOR, making the banks
privy to wider margins in that period, Lim Rui Wen, an equity
research analyst in DBS Bank, said in a note.
The dividend yields of about 4.1 to 4.7 percent also
supported the valuations of the banks, the analyst added.
The city-state's top-listed lenders DBS Group Holdings
, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United
Overseas Bank Ltd jumped between 1.4 percent and 2.5
Malaysian stocks ended 0.6 percent higher, posting
their second consecutive session of gains on the back of
healthcare and financials.
IHH Healthcare Bhd and Public Bank Bhd
climbed 3.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
The Indonesian stock market was closed for a
holiday, while Philippines, Vietnam and Thai
indexes were rangebound.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3311.27 3279.78 0.96
Bangkok 1649.06 1651.48 -0.15
Manila 7895.06 7879.21 0.20
Kuala Lumpur 1643.21 1632.83 0.64
Ho Chi Minh 984.46 985.81 -0.14
Change so far in 2019
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3311.27 3068.76 7.90
Bangkok 1649.06 1563.88 5.45
Manila 7895.06 7,466.02 5.75
Kuala Lumpur 1643.21 1690.58 -2.80
Ho Chi Minh 984.46 892.54 10.30
(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry