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SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on hopes of exemptions in U.S. tariff plan

* Singapore leads gains in region

* Thai shares on track for 7th straight session of losses

By Susan Mathew

March 8 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose

in thin trade on Thursday, on news U.S. President Donald Trump's

proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium may exclude some major

trade partners, including Canada and Mexico, soothing fears of

an impending trade war.

Worries of a trade war were rekindled on Wednesday after a

free trade proponent at the Trump administration, Gary Cohn,

announced his departure, sending markets down.

"... White House Press Secretary (Sarah Huckabee) Sanders

did some damage control by suggesting that there are "potential

carve outs for Canada and Mexico based on national security, and

possibly other countries as well..."," OCBC Bank said in a note.

Risk appetite, however, continues to be lower on the

implications of the proposed tariff, it added.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore shares led the gains

with a 0.8 percent increase, buoyed by top banks.

United Overseas Bank, DBS Group Holdings

and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp rose between 0.5

percent and 1.3 percent.

The Indonesian benchmark equity index, which dropped

more than 2 percent in the previous session, was 0.3 percent

higher. Bank Central Asia boosted the index the most,

ahead of annual results later in the day.

Telekom Indonesia logged gains of 1.5 percent.

An index of the country's most liquid stocks rose

as much as 1.3 percent.

The Thai index fell for a seventh straight session,

as energy stocks slumped. PTT Pcl and IRPC Pcl

slipped 0.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Philippine stocks lost 0.6 percent, as financial

stocks such as BDO Unibank and Ayala Corp shed

over 2 percent each.

Asia shares excluding Japan were 0.8 percent


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Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3478.04 3450.69 0.79

Bangkok 1779.58 1781.64 -0.12

Manila 8355.74 8404.69 -0.58

Jakarta 6423.602 6368.267 0.87

Kuala Lumpur 1843.43 1837.9 0.30

Ho Chi Minh 1115.99 1112.26 0.34

Change on year

Market Current End 2017 Pct Move

Singapore 3478.04 3402.92 2.21

Bangkok 1779.58 1753.71 1.48

Manila 8355.74 8558.42 -2.37

Jakarta 6423.602 6355.654 1.07

Kuala Lumpur 1843.43 1796.81 2.59

Ho Chi Minh 1115.99 984.24 13.39

(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju