U.S. Markets closed

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise, Indonesia leads pack ahead of cenbank meet

* Indonesia set for third straight session of gains

* Singapore falls as Dec exports shrink

By Shreya Mariam Job

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose

on Thursday with Indonesia leading gains ahead of its central

bank's policy meet, while Singapore shares declined following a

fall in the country's non-oil exports.

Indonesian index rose 0.6 percent ahead of the

policy rate decisions of the central bank at its first policy

meeting for the year 2019.

A Reuters poll of 20 economists predict Bank Indonesia to

maintain its 7-day reverse repurchase rate at 6.00

percent. The rate was raised six times between May and November

in the previous year in an effort to shore up the Rupiah

"We suspect that Bank Indonesia (BI) will be able to keep

rates on hold through the rest of the year, supporting fixed

income assets. There are some early signs that liquidity is

improving," according to a DBS Bank note.

Indonesia's central bank on Wednesday also said it expects

2019 economic growth of the country at 5.2 percent and that the

key policy rate has neared its peak.

Financial and energy stocks drove the index with shares of

Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT gaining 2.2 percent and

those of United tractors Tbk PT rose 3.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Singapore's benchmark index pared some of

its early losses after falling as much as 0.4 percent, due to

the worst fall in the country's December exports in two years.

December non-oil exports shrank unexpectedly by 8.5 percent,

compared with a 1.5 percent rise predicted by a Reuters poll.

Losses were concentrated in technology and consumer

non-cyclical stocks, with Thai Beverage PCL's counter

shedding 1.4 percent and that of Venture Corporation Ltd

dipping 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, other southeast Asian stock markets were

positive, as worries over trade tensions and China's economic

growth took a back seat, widening investors' risk appetite.

The Philippine benchmark rose 0.6 percent, buoyed by

real estate and telecommunication stocks. Shares of Ayala Land

Inc rose 2.6 percent, while those of Jollibee Foods

Corp gained 2.4 percent.

The Malaysian index climbed 0.4 percent, helped by

consumer cyclical and energy stocks. Shares of Petronas

Chemicals Group Bhd rose 0.9 percent, while those of

Genting Bhd firmed 2.8 percent.

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Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3222.63 3229.11 -0.20

Bangkok 1582.13 1577.41 0.30

Manila 7912.6 7864.7 0.61

Jakarta 6451.191 6413.36 0.59

Kuala Lumpur 1678.89 1673.08 0.35

Ho Chi Minh 907.12 908.7 -0.17

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3222.63 3068.76 5.01

Bangkok 1582.13 1563.88 1.17

Manila 7912.6 7,466.02 5.98

Jakarta 6451.191 6,194.50 4.14

Kuala Lumpur 1678.89 1690.58 -0.69

Ho Chi Minh 907.12 892.54 1.63

(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi