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Thailand’s SET Stocks Post Best Week in 2½ Years

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BANGKOK –  Thailand’s SET Stock market and Stock markets throughout Southeast Asia ended higher on Friday after trade war friction between two of the world’s largest economies showed signs of easing, with Thailand and Singapore logging their biggest weekly gains in two and a half years.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed their highest in three weeks on reports that US President Donald Trump is interested in reaching a trade agreement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 nations summit in Argentina later this month.

Foreign investors pulled the most money out of emerging market stocks — US$12.3 billion — in October since the ‘taper tantrum’ panic of 2013, figures from the Institute of International Finance showed.

However, all Southeast Asian markets posted weekly gains, boosted by prospects of a Sino-US trade deal and bargain-buying.

“Sentiment has been improving since late last week. Traders are thinking there might be a positive outcome to the trade negotiations between the United States and China”, Liu Jinshu, director of research, NRA Capital said.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index jumped 14.29 points or 0.86% to 1,681.84, in turnover worth 60 billion baht. The index closed 3.3% firmer for the week. Snapping four weekly losses, the index marked its best week since February 2016.

Singapore shares ended 1.8% higher. For the week, the city-state posted a gain of 4.9%, and its biggest gain since March 2016.

Shares of index heavyweight DBS Group Holdings Ltd hit their highest close in more than three weeks, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd closed 2.9% higher.

Boosted by robust gains in the banking and real estate sector, Vietnam shares ended 1.9% firmer.

Indonesian shares extended their gains to a fourth consecutive session, supported by consumer staples and financials stocks. Cigarettes maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT closed 6.6% higher, while Bank Central Asia Tbk PT ended at a more-than-two-week peak.

Meanwhile, Malaysian shares trimmed early gains to end 0.4% higher after a wider fiscal deficit was announced in the country’s annual budget.

A Reuters poll showed Malaysia’s trade surplus to widen to 7.3 billion ringgit in September, from 1.6 billion ringgit in August. The country’s trade data is due on Monday.

The Philippine market was closed for a public holiday.