South-east Asian markets were subdued in thin trade as investors trod with caution amid political uncertainties while three regional markets were shut for national holidays. Asian stocks traded on a tentative note amid increasing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme and on the U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprising dismissal of FBI Director James Comey despite positive economic data from China.
Philippine shares fell as much as 0.4 percent, its second straight session of losses, dragged down primarily by industrials. “Market is showing some short-term technical weakness, coming from an overbought peso,” said Joann Parayno, specialist at AP Securities. Nickel ore output in the Philippines, the world’s top supplier, fell 51 percent hurt by rains and mine suspensions in the first quarter, government data showed.
The new environment minister Roy Cimatu said on Tuesday that he wanted to strike a balance between conservation and mining interests, hinting an intent to settle the mining malaise in the country started by his predecessor Regina Lopez. Lopez was ousted over her anti-mining campaign through which she ordered the closure of 22 of 41 operating mines and cancelled dozens of contracts for undeveloped mines in the fifth most-mineralised country in the world.
Vietnam stocks nudged higher, led by financials and materials, with Petroleum Pipeline & Tank Construction Joint Stock Co among top gainers. Indonesian shares edged down as gains in financials were more than offset by losses in energy and industrials. PT Trimegah Sekuritas Indonesia Tbk up as much as 23.2 percent led gains on the benchmark, while PT Bintang Mitra Semestaraya Tbk, down 33.9 percent, was the biggest decliner. Markets in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are closed on account of a public holiday.
(Reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)