(May 31): Singapore stocks fell on Friday, and is set for its biggest monthly loss in more than three years, symbolising a tough month for most equity markets in the region as US-China trade tensions reignited.

The benchmark index in Singapore slid 0.6% as investors turned cautious of a possible slowdown in global growth.

"Singapore is one of the most exposed countries to any slowdown in global trade. Our gross trade is 400% of GDP," Paul Chew Kuan Leng, head of research at Phillip Securities Research said.

US President Donald Trump's move to slap tariffs on Mexico garnered fears that the United States, and maybe the whole world, was slipping into recession.

Adding to the worries was China's factory activity in May, which slumped into a deeper contraction than markets' expectations, heaping pressure on Beijing to roll out more stimulus to support an economy hit hard by a bruising trade war with the United States.

Financial stocks drove losses, with the city-state's largest lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd shedding as much as 1.3% to hit its lowest level since Feb 11.

Southeast Asia's largest economy — Indonesia — shrugged off disappointing China data and trade tension woes with its benchmark stock index rising as much as 1.4% to hit a more that two-week high. However, for the month the index dropped 4.5%.

As political uncertainty eases, DBS remains positive on Indonesian equities boosted "by confidence placed in Bank Indonesia (BI) and strengthening in the rupiah," as said in a note.

Shares of Bank Central Asia Tbk PT gained 2.1%, while those of and Bank Negara Indonesia Tbk PT rose 2.2%.

Philippine stocks extended gains into the fourth consecutive session, rising to a more than three-week high, underpinned by real estate stocks and industrials. For May, the index is set to post a 0.5% loss.

Some analysts say Philippines may be considered an attractive alternative for firms moving out of China to avoid raised tariffs.

Ayala Land Inc and JG Summit Holdings Inc advanced 2.2% and 2.3%, respectively.

Malaysian stocks gained 0.5% and were set to post a five-day winning streak, to aid a marginal monthly gain. Tenaga Nasional Bhd and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd gained 1.1% and 1.9%, respectively.

Thai and Vietnam stocks dipped slightly and were set to post a monthly loss.

Broader Asian shares, meanwhile, slid at first but soon drew month-end bargain hunting with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.3%.

Southeast Asian stock markets as at 0432 GMT

Change on the day

Market Current Previous Close Percentage Move
Singapore 3125.21 3143 -0.57
Bangkok 1620.24 1621.57 -0.08
Manila 7916.01 7836.55 1.01
Jakarta 6160.071 6104.106 0.92
Kuala Lumpur 1644.5 1636.5 0.49
Ho Chi Minh 966.56 969.34 -0.29
Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Percentage Move
Singapore 3125.21 3068.76 1.84
Bangkok 1620.24 1563.88 3.60
Manila 7916.01 7466.02 6.03
Jakarta 6160.071 6194.50 -0.56
Kuala Lumpur 1644.5 1690.58 -2.73
Ho Chi Minh 966.56 892.54 8.29