SE Asia Stocks-Down on Egypt unrest; Manila at 5-month low

01/31/2011 - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday in light trade, led by banks, as investors cut risk because of fears that the unrest in Egypt would spread to the rest of the Middle East.

* Philippines, Indonesia down over 2 pct; foreign outflows

* Banks lead the falls around the region


The violence in North Africa and the Middle East has already pushed up oil prices and will add to concern about food price inflation.

"More investors are on the sidelines due to fears over the unrest spreading to other countries in the Middle East and holidays in the region this week," a Singapore-based analyst said.

"Though this is an excuse for profit taking, the main concern is oil prices ..., where they will head if the crisis in the Middle East spreads."

The MSCI index of Asia and Pacific shares excluding Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 1 percent at 0943 GMT.

The Philippines .PSE fell 2.2 percent to hit its lowest close in nearly five months, taking its loss on the month to 7.6 percent. Indonesia .JKSE, the worst performer in the region this year, dropped 2.3 percent on the day and 8 percent in January.

Thailand .SETI closed 1.8 percent weaker on the day and down 6.7 percent on the month.

These markets were among last year's biggest gainers in Asia, with Jakarta receiving foreign inflows of $2.2 billion in 2010, Bangkok $1.9 billion and Manila $816 million, Reuters data shows.

However, foreign money has flowed out of Jakarta and Bangkok this year. Some $22.1 million left Indonesia on Monday, and a total of $442.3 million on the month, while Thailand saw net selling of $28.4 million on Monday and $933 million on the month.

The Philippines lost $2.5 million on Monday, but took in a net $869 million in foreign money in January.

Trading volumes were light in Jakarta and Bangkok, with Thailand seeing only 0.67 times its 30-day average and Indonesia 0.85. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur saw higher turnover.

Banks led the fall across regional bourses and analysts attributed the move to foreign selling.

Singapore .FTSTI fell 1.6 percent and Malaysia .KLSE edged down 0.1 percent. Vietnam .VNI was closed for a holiday. (reuters.com)



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