SE Asia stocks-Fed rate hike expectations hit sentiment – Bangkok Post

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A man watches an electronic board showing at the stock markets in Southeast and East Asia at a securities firm in Tokyo on Wednesday. (AP photo)

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Southeast Asian stocks were lower or little changed at the close of trade on Wednesday, in line with Asian shares, after some US Fed officials flagged prospects of a rate increase, leaving the door open to a change in monetary policy relatively soon.

A US Federal Reserve policymaker said on Tuesday that he will push for an interest rate hike in June or July and two others still see up to three rate increases this year.

Asian markets fell as the assumed shift towards more tightening by the Fed came as bad news for stock markets. The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan

lost 1.1%.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index closed slightly lower as consumer services lost ground.  Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd dropped 1.6%, while Genting Singapore Plc fell 1.3%.

The index has fallen 3.5% this year as of Tuesday’s close.

Vietnam stocks ended 0.4% lower, after hitting a near 10-month closing high in the previous session.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines closed marginally higher. Jakarta recovered from three days of losses, with energy stocks gaining as oil futures traded near 2016 highs on Wednesday.

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