(Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets inched higher on Monday as weak data from the United States and China spurred hopes of further stimulus measures to prop up slowing economic growth.
Data released on Friday showed U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in August, while China's exports fell unexpectedly last month, hurt by a drop in shipments to the United States.
Risk sentiment was also buoyed as central banks of both countries indicated their intention to work towards sustaining growth.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would continue to act "as appropriate" to sustain the economic expansion in the world's biggest economy, while the People's Bank of China said it was cutting the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the third time this year.
"The latest move (reserve ratio cut) reflects the (Chinese) government's determination to use a combination of policy tools to stimulate the economy as it also looks to allow local governments to issue more bonds to fund infrastructure investment," Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients.
Indonesian shares <.JKSE> gained the most in Southeast Asia, helped by telecom and consumer stocks.
Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Pt and Unilever Indonesia Tbk Pt rose 1.2% each.
Philippine shares <.PSI> climbed 0.1%, extending gains into a fourth session, on financials.
Ayala Corp edged up 0.4%, while BDO Unibank Inc gained 0.6%.
Singapore shares <.STI> inched higher on industrial and consumer stocks.
Industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd gained 0.8%, while retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings rose 0.6%.
Malaysian <.KLSE> financial markets were closed for a holiday.
(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
By Shreya Mariam Job