Most Southeast Asian markets on Friday retreated from the recent risk-on rally, with Singapore falling the most, as sentiment was hit by doubts over Washington’s tariff rollback announcement.
A Reuters exclusive report of fierce internal opposition in the White House to a possible rollback of US tariffs on China diminished initial optimism over a “phase-one” deal being reached between the two.
The idea of a tariff rollback was not part of the original October “handshake” deal between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US President Donald Trump, sources told Reuters.
China’s commerce ministry had said on Thursday that the two sides had agreed on tariff reductions in phases.
“Investors may remain cautious until they see details. The rollback of existing tariffs is a positive surprise. However, given President Trump’s love of tariffs, the additional element may risk prolonging the phase one negotiation,” OCBC said in a note.
US stock futures were down about 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent in Asian trade.
Singapore’s benchmark index retreated from a more than three-week high on Thursday, as industrials and financials weakened.
Casino operator Genting Singapore fell as much as 3.7 percent on poor third-quarter earnings reported on Thursday after market hours.
Industrial conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings and Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust were among biggest losers, declining as much as 2.9 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.
However, the index is on track to rise for a fifth consecutive week.
The Philippine bourse hit its lowest in more than a week, dragged by consumer and utilities stocks.
SM Investments Corp and Aboitiz Equity Ventures were down as much as 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
The index was set to post its fifth consecutive weekly gain. – Reuters