SE Asia Stocks-Slide on worries of U.S.-China trade deal delay

By Arundhati Dutta

* Philippines, Vietnam & Singapore fall 1% * Bank Indonesia holds benchmark rate steady as expected * Thailand exports fall 4.54% y/y in Oct, below forecast By Arundhati Dutta Nov 21 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets took a beating on Thursday on worries that the U.S. bills backing Hong Kong protesters could strain Sino-U.S relations and further delay a possible "phase one" trade deal. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong which President Donald Trump is expected to sign, a move that has irked China. Further weighing on sentiment was a report that the trade agreement could be delayed as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks, and the Trump administration counters with heightened demands of its own. Indonesian shares shed 0.6%, as the central bank's move to cut the reserve requirement ratio by banks failed to lift sentiment, while the key interest rate was kept steady, as expected. "With inflation expected to remain within target going into 2020, Bank Indonesia may resume its easing cycle in early 2020 to give growth momentum an added boost, given the possibility of an escalation in global headwinds," analysts at ING said in a note. Trade-sensitive Singapore stocks closed at an over three-week low. While the index pared a small portion of losses on news that the city-state's economy grew better than the government expected in the third quarter, selling resumed later in the day, pushing the index 1.2% lower. Thai shares slid as data showed that exports had dropped for a third straight month in October, and had missed estimates predicted in a Reuters poll. Top losers were communication services stocks, with Advanced Info Service Pcl and Total Access Communication Pcl shedding 3.5% and 5%, respectively. Vietnamese equities tumbled 1.3%, dragged by real estate stocks. Philippines stocks had fallen as much as nearly 2% to a six-week low, but recouped some losses to close 1% lower. Malaysian stocks fell 0.6%, with index heavyweight Tenaga Nasional losing 1.3%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3192.21 3229.78 -1.16 Bangkok 1591.86 1596.83 -0.31 Manila 7818.89 7898.06 -1.00 Jakarta 6117.364 6155.109 -0.61 Kuala Lumpur 1592.19 1601.14 -0.56 Ho Chi Minh 987.89 1000.56 -1.27 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3192.21 3068.76 4.02 Bangkok 1591.86 1563.88 1.79 Manila 7818.89 7,466.02 4.73 Jakarta 6117.364 6,194.50 -1.25 Kuala Lumpur 1592.19 1690.58 -5.82 Ho Chi Minh 987.89 892.54 10.68 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; editing by Uttaresh.V)