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SE Asia Stocks-Rise as China data tops expectations, Philippines surges 3%

By Arundhati Dutta

* The Philippines leads gains, up 3% * Indonesia c.bank cuts RRR, holds rates * China March exports fall 6.6% y/y By Arundhati Dutta April 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday on better-than-expected trade data from China and signs of the coronavirus outbreak peaking in certain hotspots. Data from China, the region's biggest trading partner, showed that exports fell 6.6% in March compared with a year earlier, less than analysts' estimate of a 14% plunge. In a boost to sentiment, 10 U.S. states, including New York and California, banded together on Monday in two regional pacts to gradually reopen their economies as signs emerged that the virus crisis had peaked. The Philippine index led the gains, rising 3% and hit its highest close in a month. Big caps Ayala Corp and Bank of the Philippine Islands rose 8.3% and 5.2%, respectively. Shares in Indonesia closed up 1.8%, with financial stocks as top gainers. PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk and PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk climbed more than 4%, each. Indonesia's central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged on Tuesday, but cut the amount of cash banks are required to keep in reserve to inject liquidity into the financial system and help the economy ride out the pandemic. The central bank's announcement came shortly before the closure of equity and currency markets in Indonesia, whose trading hours have recently been reduced, leading to limited market reaction to the news. Singaporean stocks ended 2.6% higher and hit their highest close in a month. Heavyweight financial stocks United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd gained 2.6% and 3%, respectively. Thai equities rose 1.6% on the back of financial and energy stocks. Thailand approved measures to boost production of medical equipment on Monday, a senior official said, as the country combats the pandemic. The Malaysian benchmark gained 1.2%, helped by gains in big-cap financials including Malayan Banking Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2634.57 2567.25 2.62 Bangkok 1256.35 1236.78 1.58 Manila 5780.88 5610.98 3.03 Jakarta 4706.491 4623.894 1.79 Kuala Lumpur 1371.66 1356.03 1.15 Ho Chi Minh 767.41 765.79 0.21 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2634.57 3222.83 -18.25 Bangkok 1256.35 1579.84 -20.48 Manila 5780.88 7,815.26 -26.03 Jakarta 4706.491 6,299.54 -25.29 Kuala Lumpur 1371.66 1588.76 -13.66 Ho Chi Minh 767.41 960.99 -20.14 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)