(Oct 16): With a little less than a quarter left of a year that’s already witnessed a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, higher oil prices and a still ongoing emerging-markets rout, what’s an investor in Southeast Asia to do?

For Morgan Stanley, DBS Group Holdings and Nomura Holdings Inc, the answer is simple: double down on defensive trades in Singapore and Thailand as the rest of 2018 may see more hiccups. The MSCI Asean Index, which tracks markets across the region, sank to its lowest level since March 2017 last week as a rout ravaged equities worldwide.

“In Asean, we face the same challenges with trying to pick safer markets, particularly with the Fed tightening,” Sean Gardiner, a Southeast Asian equity strategist at Morgan Stanley said in an interview. Singapore and Thailand have better balance of payments and will be able to work through that, he said.

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