SE Asia Stocks-Most rebound on steps to numb virus impact; Thailand to declare emergency

By Arpit Nayak

* Thailand to declare month-long emergency * Thai cabinet approves $3.3 bln stimulus package * Philippines says economy may contract on virus impact By Arpit Nayak March 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rebounded on Tuesday as global and regional stimulus measures to stem the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic lifted investor sentiment, while Thailand prepared to enter a month-long emergency. Thai shares gained on the back of a massive stimulus package to combat the outbreak's impact, even as the government said it would declare an emergency on Thursday to deal with the virus outbreak. The U.S. Federal Reserve on Monday committed to unlimited dollar funding in a bid to ease credit strains and cushion the virus' impact on the economy. "We are cautiously optimistic that the combination of Fed actions and government spending will blunt the worst of the COVID-19 crisis," analysts at DBS Group Research said. In keeping with global efforts, Southeast Asian countries attempted to counter the pandemic's financial impact through a range of monetary and fiscal policy measures. The Philippines bourse ended 0.7% higher, after the central bank approved a plan to buy government securities to shore up liquidity. Gains were capped as the country said its economy might contract this year for the first time in more than two decades due to the fallout from the outbreak. Singapore's index recovered from a steep sell-off in the previous session to climb 5.8%, while Malaysian shares gained 2.5%. Indonesia's index eased 1.3% after the government said it may need to exceed the 3% legal limit on its budget deficit in response to the economic damage from the virus. The central bank said it had bought government bonds worth 165 trillion rupiah ($10.03 billion) from foreign sellers to stabilise the market. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2,362.05 2,233.48 5.76 Bangkok 1,033.84 1,024.46 0.92 Manila 4,774.27 4,743.37 0.65 Jakarta 3,937.632 3,989.517 -1.30 Kuala Lumpur 1,291.14 1,259.88 2.48 Ho Chi Minh 659.21 666.59 -1.11 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2,362.05 3,222.83 -26.71 Bangkok 1,033.84 1,579.84 -34.56 Manila 4,774.27 7,815.26 -38.91 Jakarta 3,937.632 6,299.54 -37.49 Kuala Lumpur 1,291.14 1,588.76 -18.73 Ho Chi Minh 659.21 960.99 -31.40 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)