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SE Asia Stocks-Rise as Middle East tensions fade, Thailand gains most

By Sameer Manekar

* Indonesia's unaudited 2019 budget deficit at 2.20% of GDP * Philippines Dec CPI above forecast * Thai equities rise most in over one month By Sameer Manekar Jan 7 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian equities finished higher on Tuesday, with Thailand leading gains, as markets drew relief from the absence of any fresh escalations in the standoff between the United States and Iran. Regional markets recovered from sharp declines on Monday, gaining broadly in line with their Asian peers. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recouped almost all of losses from the previous session. However, uncertainties still persist on report of Iran considering 13 "revenge scenarios" in retaliation for U.S. strike last week, and the United States denying visa to Iran's foreign minister to attend a United Nations meeting this week. Thai equities led the gains in the region, buoyed by financial and industrial sectors. Retailer CP All Pcl and Airports of Thailand rising 1.4% and 2.1%, respectively. Singapore's benchmark index ended 0.9% higher, boosted by financials and industrial firms. Southeast Asia's largest lender DBS Group Holdings added 0.7%, while Jardine Strategic Holdings gained 1.6%. Malaysian stocks finished 0.8% higher with financials and telecom firms rising the most. CIMB Group Holdings and Maxis Bhd added 1.3% and 2.3%, respectively. Philippine bourse rose 0.6% on the back of consumer firms, with SM Investments Corp adding 2.6%. Data released on Tuesday showed the country's annual inflation picking up more than expected in December, but remaining within the central bank's target for last year. Last year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno said the policymakers will resume easing policy this year, and "at least 50 basis points" were to be expected in 2020. Indonesian shares gained 0.4%, with financials and consumer sectors pushing the index. The country posted an unaudited budget deficit of 2.2% of gross domestic product in 2019, in line with the government's latest estimate, however, wider than its initial plan to keep the deficit at 1.8% of GDP. Bank Rakyat Indonesia and poultry feed firm Charoen Pokphand Indonesia gained 0.7% and 6.9%, respectively. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3247.86 3218.86 0.90 Bangkok 1585.23 1568.5 1.07 Manila 7840.7 7797.87 0.55 Jakarta 6279.346 6257.403 0.35 Kuala Lumpur 1611.04 1597.76 0.83 Ho Chi Minh 958.88 955.79 0.32 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3247.86 3222.83 0.78 Bangkok 1585.23 1579.84 0.34 Manila 7840.7 7,815.26 0.33 Jakarta 6279.346 6,299.54 -0.32 Kuala Lumpur 1611.04 1588.76 1.40 Ho Chi Minh 958.88 960.99 -0.22 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)