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Asia: Most markets decline in line with global equity rout

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Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell tracking their global peers on Wednesday, with Singapore taking the maximum hit, as continued concerns over political uncertainty in the US prompted investors to steer clear of riskier assets.

[SINGAPORE] Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell tracking their global peers on Wednesday, with Singapore taking the maximum hit, as continued concerns over political uncertainty in the US prompted investors to steer clear of riskier assets.

Local trading volumes were largely subdued due to the holiday season. US equities fell into a tailspin on Christmas eve as investors fretted over a number of political issues, ranging from the convening of a crisis group to reports of President Trump considering the sacking of the Federal Reserve Chairman. The drop created ripples across most equity markets around the globe.

"These are incredibly tricky markets to decipher as the outsized moves are not reflective of the current US economic landscape, but that seems to matter little so far as fear mongering continues to permeate every pocket of global capital markets," said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

Local equities followed suit, with Singapore's index shedding more than 1 per cent to drop to its lowest since late-October. Losses in the island state were largely broad-based, with financials and industrials serving as the biggest weights on the benchmark. Shares of Lender DBS Group shed nearly 1.6 per cent, while those of industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings fell 2.2 per cent.

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Inflation in Singapore slowed slightly in November, implying that the Monetary Authority may face lesser inflationary pressure to tighten policy in the future.

The Thailand benchmark index edged up slightly after slipping to its lowest level since May 2017, as oil and gas heavyweight PTT PCL's counter took some support from a mild rebound in oil prices.

The index had plunged more than 2 per cent on Tuesday after data showed that Thailand's manufacturing production rose lesser than expected in November, which may put some pressure on exports from the country in 2019. Vietnam shares moved between positive and negative territory. 

REUTERS