SE Asia Stocks-Tumble as curbs to fight virus take economic toll, spark recession fears

By Arpit Nayak

* Singapore sees biggest one-day drop since Oct. 2008 * Thailand falls 9%, hits circuit breaker * Indonesia hits fifth circuit breaker in eight sessions By Arpit Nayak March 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets witnessed heavy selling on Monday as the economic impact from lockdowns and travel curbs, meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, fuelled fears of a likely recession. Amid the rising tide of lockdowns, governments have announced stimulus packages and central banks across the region have eased monetary policies to shield their economies from the impact of the virus but those measures have met with little success so far. "The losses seen across Asian markets are unlikely to be meaningfully reversed anytime soon, with investors fearing a global recession amid the economic carnage left by Covid-19," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. "... The selloff in global equities is expected to continue amid the glaring void of risk-on catalysts, while investors' persistent clamour for dollar should maintain the downward pressure on Asian and emerging market currencies." Singapore equities lost 7.4%, their worst session in more than 11 years, after the city-state banned short-term visitors from entering its borders. Singapore's main price gauge slipped into deflation for the first time in over a decade in February as the virus has dented air travel and holiday spending. Flag-carrier Singapore Airlines plunged 11% to the lowest in over two decades on plans to ground nearly its entire fleet due to travel restrictions. The Thai index ended 9.1% lower in a low-volume trading session after triggering a circuit breaker that halted trading for thirty minutes. Indonesian stocks fell 4.9% after hitting circuit breakers five times in eight sessions. Malaysian shares dropped 3.3% after the government said it may consider extending movement restrictions by up to two weeks, even as the army was roped in to enforce a partial lockdown in the country. The Philippine bourse pared early losses but still ended 0.7% down as the central bank unveiled a $5.8 billion programme to blunt the economic impact of the virus. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2,233.48 2,410.74 -7.35 Bangkok 1,024.46 1,127.24 -9.12 Manila 4,743.37 4,778.76 -0.74 Jakarta 3,989.517 4,194.944 -4.90 Kuala Lumpur 1,259.88 1,303.28 -3.33 Ho Chi Minh 666.59 709.73 -6.08 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2,233.48 3,222.83 -30.70 Bangkok 1,024.46 1,579.84 -35.15 Manila 4,743.37 7,815.26 -39.31 Jakarta 3,989.517 6,299.54 -36.67 Kuala Lumpur 1,259.88 1,588.76 -20.70 Ho Chi Minh 666.59 960.99 -30.64 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by xxxx)