SE Asian stocks tumble about 2% on US crude price crash

Southeast Asian stock markets were pummelled on Tuesday, after a historic plunge in US crude futures to below zero highlighted the damage wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global markets fell, with the S&P 500 ending 1.79% lower and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 2.4% overnight. Broader Asian markets were also trading lower.

“The impact of negative oil means different things for different Asian economies — but if you have to generalize, it isn’t great news,” Robert Carnell, regional head of research, Asia-Pacific at ING, wrote in a note.

Such a big negative deviation from the optimal price of oil will likely weigh heavily on demand for Asia’s exports, he added.

Most regional benchmark indexes tumbled more than 2%, with Philippines falling as much as 2.7%.

Consumer and industrial sectors led the declines. Aboitiz Equity Ventures fell as much as 2.9%, while conglomerate Alliance Global Group dropped 6%, hitting its lowest level since April 8.

Malaysian stocks were down as much as 2%, set for their worst day since April 1.

Press Metal Aluminium weakened as much as 5.8% to a one-week low, while CIMB Group tumbled 4.5%.

The Indonesian and Thai indexes both fell nearly 2%. Tourindo Guide Indonesia dropped to a five-week low, while Surapon Foods touched its lowest in near two weeks.

Sembcorp Industries declined as much as 4.4% to its lowest since April 7, while Wilmar International lost 3.5% to hit its lowest since April 6.