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SE Asia Stocks-Most inch lower as Trump threat re-ignites trade war worries

By Soumyajit Saha

* Singapore down after dismal June export data * Resources, utility stocks weigh on Malaysia By Soumyajit Saha July 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets struggled in a tight range on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that a resolution to the tariff war with China was not imminent, souring investor sentiment. Trading volume was low as market participants digested Trump's threat of imposing tariffs on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese goods "if we want". The United States had "a long way to go with China on trade", he said on Tuesday. The general market tone would be "risk-off", ING Group said in a note to clients, adding that Trump's renewed threat had investors bracing for weak trading in the Asian session. Trump's comments came after the world's two largest economies last month agreed to a truce in the year-long trade spat. The enduring tariff war has adversely impacted global economic growth, especially in Southeast Asia whose biggest trading partner is China. Malaysian shares fell 0.4%, hurt by losses in the resources and utility sectors. Petronas Chemicals Group was 2.6% lower, while electricity generator Tenaga Nasional was down 1.2%. Singapore shares slipped as disappointing June export data weighed on the market. Exports fell more than expected last month, marking their biggest decline in six years, as the city-state struggles against tepid global demand and the Sino-U.S. trade war. The dismal data added to the gloom kicked-off by a 3.4% shrink in the second-quarter GDP. Consumer and industrial stocks were among the top losers. Conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings fell 1.2%, while Dairy Farm International Holdings declined 2.3%. Indonesian shares edged lower, dragged by financial and consumer stocks. Automobile manufacturer Astra International fell 2%, while lender Bank Central Asia shed 0.5%. Philippine shares rose marginally, helped by consumer and utility stocks. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0339 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3356.46 3360.03 -0.11 Bangkok 1728.82 1727.98 0.05 Manila 8270.2 8263.57 0.08 Jakarta 6390.944 6401.88 -0.17 Kuala Lumpur 1662.41 1668.94 -0.39 Ho Chi Minh 982.11 982.11 0.00 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3356.46 3068.76 9.38 Bangkok 1728.82 1563.88 10.55 Manila 8270.2 7,466.02 10.77 Jakarta 6390.944 6,194.50 3.17 Kuala Lumpur 1662.41 1690.58 -1.67 Ho Chi Minh 982.11 892.54 10.04 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)