SE Asia Stocks-Tumble as virus-led lockdowns fan recession fears; Singapore falls most

By Arpit Nayak

* Singapore sees worst day since Oct 2008 * Singapore enforces ban on short-term visitors * Thailand custom-cleared exports for Feb set to show decline By Arpit Nayak March 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday and Singapore marked its worst day in over 11 years as lockdowns and travel curbs to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic stoked fears of a likely recession. While nations imposed stricter restrictions on movement, central banks in the region have adopted a range of measures to boost liquidity and spur growth in markets but their efforts have paled in comparison to the speed of the virus' spread and the economic toll. Meanwhile, following Wall Street's worst week since 2008, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dived 5% at the open to hit their downlimit. "Markets are beginning to price in recession scenarios as aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus misfire," analysts at ING said in a note. "The futures are pointing to (the) start of yet another week of market sell-off." Singaporean shares plunged 8.4% to hit their lowest since May 2009. The country sealed off its borders from short-term visitors in a bid to conserve resources for citizens returning from other countries, a day after reporting its first deaths from the virus. Adding to woes, Malaysia's ongoing travel ban could cause labour shortages for Singapore with daily commuters barred from the city-state. Malaysian stocks fell as much as 4.7%, amid a two-week partial lockdown in the country. Malaysia deployed its army to enforce curbs on travel after the country recorded the region's highest number of coronavirus cases. The Philippine index tumbled 5.6% after seeing its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis last week. Property developer SM Prime Holdings and lender BDO Unibank eased 10% and 9%, respectively. The energy-heavy Thai bourse lost 7.5% as oil prices suffered a steep decline. The trade reliant nation is set to release data for customs-based exports later in the day which will likely take a hit due to the virus. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0337 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2,234.08 2,410.74 -7.33 Bangkok 1,060.66 1,127.24 -5.91 Manila 4,631.06 4,778.76 -3.09 Jakarta 4,047.782 4,194.944 -3.51 Kuala Lumpur 1,270.87 1,303.28 -2.49 Ho Chi Minh 671.1 709.73 -5.44 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2,234.08 3,222.83 -30.68 Bangkok 1,060.66 1,579.84 -32.86 Manila 4,631.06 7,815.26 -40.74 Jakarta 4,047.782 6,299.54 -35.74 Kuala Lumpur 1,270.87 1,588.76 -20.01 Ho Chi Minh 671.1 960.99 -30.17 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)