Southeast Asia stocks fall in risk-off trade ahead of Fed meeting

An employee works at a front desk of the Singapore Exchange head office in Singapore.
An employee works at a front desk of the Singapore Exchange head office in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower on Monday, with the Philippines posting its sharpest fall in nearly three weeks, as investors dumped risky assets on expectations that the United States Federal Reserve would raise interest rates later this week.

Singapore shares touched a one-week low, hit by consumer services and industrial stocks, while oil and gas stocks led the gains. The Straits Times Index lost 3.94 points to 2,952.19 in the face of heavy selling in China where the Shanghai Composite plunged 2.5 per cent after regulators moved to curb insurance companies' stock market activities.

"I think it is risk-off ahead of Tuesday's Fed meeting,"said Victor Felix, an analyst with AB Capital Securities, according to Reuters.

Oil prices surged to their highest since mid 2015 and US Treasury yields hit a more than two-year peak on Monday after the world's top crude producers agreed to cut output.

Vietnam closed lower with financials and consumer cyclicals among the major losers.

Markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were closed for a holiday.