SE Asia Stocks-Most climb on trade optimism; Philippines drops 1.6 pct

By Soumyajit Saha

* China's top trade negotiator may visit Washington this month * Malaysia Nov factory output up 2.5 pct, but slower than Oct * Singapore stocks set to close firmer for sixth straight session By Soumyajit Saha Jan 11 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets climbed on Friday amid reports the United States and China were making headway in their talks on trade, while expectations of the U.S. Fed hitting the pause button on monetary tightening helped boost sentiment. U.S. officials expect China's top trade negotiator to visit Washington this month, signalling that discussions are likely to follow this week's talks. U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell's comment that the central bank can wait on any further rate hikes also helped the markets. Shares across broader Asia inched higher, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.4 percent. Singapore stocks were on track for a sixth straight session of gains, buoyed by lenders DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank. The Philippine index, which came under heavy pressure from losses among the country's largest banks, dropped 1.6 percent to its biggest intraday fall in over three weeks. According to media reports, the Philippine unit of South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd declared bankruptcy and top lenders will have to cover the fallout. News of the bankruptcy and reports of the loan exposure to Hanjin by several banks with significant weight on the index were driving the market lower, said Miguel Ong, research analyst, AP Securities. Bank of the Philippine Islands and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co were the biggest drags, down as much as 5.1 percent and 6.4 percent, while BDO Unibank dropped up to 2.7 percent. Malaysia shares traded 0.1 percent weaker after investors priced in government data that showed the country's industrial output had climbed 2.5 percent in November from a year earlier, but was slower than the 4.2 percent rise in the previous month. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS OF 0511 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 3198.66 3183.51 0.48 Bangkok 1589.7 1587.63 0.13 Manila 7858.61 7985.23 -1.59 Jakarta 6341.026 6328.714 0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1677.02 1678.88 -0.11 Ho Chi Minh 902.28 898.3 0.44 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3198.66 3068.76 4.23 Bangkok 1589.7 1563.88 1.65 Manila 7858.61 7,466.02 5.26 Jakarta 6341.026 6,194.50 2.37 Kuala Lumpur 1677.02 1690.58 -0.80 Ho Chi Minh 902.28 892.54 1.09 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)