SINGAPORE, June 8 — South-east Asian stock markets fell today on heightened caution ahead of a key meeting of global leaders and amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise US interest rates next week.
Global risk appetite took a hit after US jobless claims pointed to a further tightening in labour market conditions, cementing expectations the Fed will raise benchmark US rates next week and twice again later in the year.
The widening rift between the United States and its major trade partners after President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs on steel and aluminium imports last week spurred concerns ahead of a Group of Seven summit taking place today and tomorrow in Quebec.
Investors also looked to a historic US-Korea summit in Singapore on June 12 where the main issue is whether North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell about 1 per cent after six straight sessions of gains that took it to the highest since mid-March yesterday.
Philippine stocks fell as much as 1.1 per cent, after a three-day winning run.
Jose Vistan, research head at AB Capital Securities, attributed today's losses to profit-taking after strong gains over the last few sessions.
Malaysian shares fell as much as 0.7 per cent, with lenders CIMB Group Holdings and Malayan Banking among the biggest losing stocks.
Singapore shares were down as much as 0.6 per cent, weighed down by bank stocks.
OCBC slipped as much as 1.6 per cent and United Overseas Bank declined as much as 1.2 percent.
Indonesian shares dropped as much as 0.9 per cent from a six-week high, with losses across the index ahead of a long holiday.
Consumer products company Unilever Indonesia slipped nearly 1 per cent, while Telkom Indonesia was on track for its third straight sessions of losses.
Indonesian financial markets will be closed from June 11 to June 19 for Eid Al-Fitr celebrations. Markets will resume trade on June 20.
Vietnam shares slipped 0.2 per cent after six consecutive sessions of gains, weighed down mostly by losses in real estate and consumer staple shares. — Reuters