By Shruti Sonal
Oct 8 (Reuters) – Thai stocks climbed nearly 1% on Thursday as the government took measures to boost consumption in its coronavirus-battered economy, leading gains across a handful of Asia’s big emerging markets.
With markets globally eyeing a tumultuous U.S. election campaign and roadblocks in passing stimulus in the world’s biggest economy, currencies across the region were subdued, with the Taiwan dollar again the main standout, rising almost 1%.
Thailand’s benchmark index .SETI hit its highest in over two weeks after officials added a tax deduction on purchases of goods and services to cash handouts and subsidies announced last month.
Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said altogether the measures would push about 200 billion baht ($6.4 billion) into the economy in the last three months of this year.
The tourist-heavy economy has started receiving its first visitors this week after months of travel curbs and its markets have proven relatively immune to growing protests against the army-backed government.
“Overall, the outlook for the country’s economy in the first quarter should be better,” said Sunthorn Thongthip, a Thailand-based strategist at Kasikorn Securities.
In the second big public launch this year, Thailand’s Siam Cement Group Packaging Pcl (SCGP) was set to raise up to $1.5 billion after pricing shares for its initial offering at the top end of its range.
Reports overnight of the Trump administration exploring restrictions on China’s Ant Group and Tencent Holdings 0700.HK over national security concerns weighed on sentiment in trade-reliant Singapore, said Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets.
“The news can explain the negative feedback on the Singapore markets given that we have significant relations with China and most of the Chinese tech firms have set up their operational hubs in Singapore,” added Wong.
Markets in China, the region’s biggest market and main engine of growth, reopen after a week-long holiday on Friday.
Malaysia .KLSE, where markets have settled after the government dented opposition efforts to take over by winning a recent election, gained 0.5%.
In Indonesia .JKSE, stocks edged 0.2% higher as other major stock markets improved overnight.
Philippine stocks .PSI, which have been hit as the economy struggled with coronavirus restrictions, reversed losses earlier in the session and edged up, while Singapore’s benchmark .STI shed 0.1%.
** Most currencies in region subdued; Taiwan dollar up about 1%
** Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air Inc CEB.PS plans to raise roughly $500 million to weather the pandemic
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 0.3 basis points at 6.899%
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0343 GMT
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(Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Christopher Cushing)
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