SE Asia Stocks-Most drop on rising doubts over U.S. virus response; Vietnam falls 3%

By Shruti Sonal

* Vietnam hits lowest since Oct. 2017 * Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand fall over 1% each * Thailand cancels visa on arrivals for 18 countries By Shruti Sonal March 11 (Reuters) - Vietnam shares tumbled more than 3% on Wednesday as coronavirus cases in the country spiked, while most other Southeast Asian markets ended lower amid growing scepticism about Washington's stimulus measures to limit the economic impact of the outbreak. The White House and Congress negotiated measures overnight to bolster the U.S. economy and the Bank of England cut interest rates to stave off a recession triggered by the fast-spreading virus. However, investors wondered whether the efforts would be enough to cushion the economic impact of the virus, which has disrupted businesses globally, while denting consumer confidence. "At present, we believe a global economic slowdown is in play, with a growing chance that a global recession could materialise if economies facing a major disruption do not promptly implement fiscal stimulus to offset reduced demand," ANZ Research analysts said in a note. The Vietnam benchmark hit its lowest since October 2017, with carrier Vietjet Aviation JSC slumping 7%, as the number of infected patients in the country surged following the reintroduction of the virus via a flight from Europe. Thai equities slumped 1.7% as tourism stocks took a beating after the country cancelled visa on arrival for 18 countries to limit virus spread. Meanwhile, Singapore stocks slipped 1.7% as well on concerns of a recession in the trade-reliant economy after a central bank survey showed that economists had more than halved their growth forecasts this year. Fears over the epidemic remained as the number of people infected topped 116,000 across the world, although China lowered emergency response levels to the coronavirus as infections retreat. Indonesian equities fell 1.3% after the country reported its first death from the virus and its central bank governor said Bank Indonesia was likely to revise lower its outlook for 2020 economic growth at its next policy meeting. Bucking the trend, Malaysian benchmark gained about 1% in its best intraday session since June 2018. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the cabinet had agreed to set up an economic action council to tackle fall in oil prices and virus outbreak. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2783.72 2832.54 -1.72 Bangkok 1249.89 1271.25 -1.68 Manila 6353.26 6318.38 0.55 Jakarta 5154.105 5220.826 -1.28 Kuala Lumpur 1443.83 1430.47 0.93 Ho Chi Minh 811.35 837.5 -3.12 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2783.72 3222.83 -13.62 Bangkok 1249.89 1579.84 -20.89 Manila 6353.26 7,815.26 -18.71 Jakarta 5154.105 6,299.54 -18.18 Kuala Lumpur 1443.83 1588.76 -9.12 Ho Chi Minh 811.35 960.99 -15.57 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)