China trade rebound, oil price surge fuel strong showing in Asian bourses, STI up 75 points

The local Straits Times Index (STI) rose 75.76 points, or 2.69 per cent, to 2,890.4, its highest since March 30.
The local Straits Times Index (STI) rose 75.76 points, or 2.69 per cent, to 2,890.4, its highest since March 30.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares put up a strong showing on Wednesday (April 13) in line with others in the region, thanks to a surprise rebound in Chinese trade and a surge in oil prices.

The local Straits Times Index (STI) rose 75.76 points, or 2.69 per cent, to 2,890.4, its highest since March 30.

This came as China reported a 11.5 per cent jump in exports for March - the first such increase since June - which topped market expectations and fuelled hope that the economy could finally be stabilising.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong grew 3.2 per cent, Tokyo advanced 2.8 per cent and Sydney added 1.6 per cent.

"Economic indicators are going in the right direction and there's more evidence that Chinese stimulus measures are positively impacting the economy," Mr Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors, which oversees about US$122 billion (S$164.08 billion), told Bloomberg.

"Today we've got better export and import figures. So a lot of the fundamental factors that were driving concerns earlier this year seem to have faded."

The positive sentiment here mirrored that in the United States, where Wall Street climbed 0.9 per cent overnight, driven by the oil price strength.

Prices of global benchmark Brent powered past the US$42 a barrel mark to settle around US$44 as major oil producers prepare to meet in Doha on Sunday to discuss a possible freeze in production levels.

At home, all of the STI components clocked gains, with the energy-related plays out in full force.

Marine and offshore group Sembcorp Marine surged 26.5 cents or 17 per cent to S$1.82 - though spurred partly by aggressive buying from foreign brokers which rekindled privatisation rumours, said NetResearch Asia in a note - while parent Sembcorp Industries jumped 20 cents or 6.9 per cent to S$3.08.

Keppel Corporation put on 27 cents or 4.7 per cent to S$6.06.

The local banks helped lift the index as well, with DBS Group Holdings, for instance, climbing 39 cents or 2.6 per cent to S$15.47.

Total turnover across the bourse was a healthy 1.55 billion shares worth $1.39 billion.

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg