SINGAPORE - The Singapore stock market, led by aviation and tourism-related stocks, was cheered on Thursday (March 24) by the Government’s announcement of major easing of Covid-19 pandemic measures.
Singapore Airlines shares surged 22 cents, or 4.3 per cent, to close at $5.40, while ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider Sats also rallied 20 cents, or 5 per cent, to $4.17.
SIA Engineering gained 10 cents, or 4.5 per cent, to $2.33.
The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 35.44 points or over one per cent to its highest close in a month at 3,399.7 points as the latest measures were seen as a major step towards business, economic and social normalisation.
Stocks were reacting to the news that all vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore without quarantine from April 1.
Visitors will also no longer be required to take only designated flights to enter Singapore quarantine-free, and will not have to take a Covid-19 antigen rapid test within 24 hours of arrival.
The Government also announced on Thursday morning that group gatherings will be expanded to 10 people, from the current five, from next Tuesday. Also, 75 per cent of employees who can work from home will be allowed to return to their workplaces.
Meanwhile, the meetings and events industry celebrated the relaxation of gatherings to 75 per cent capacity for venues capable of hosting more than 1,000 people.
Shares of Suntec Reit, whose downtown venue hosts major meetings, exhibitions, conventions and events, besides retail and F&B outlets, rose four cents, or 2.4 per cent, to its highest close in two years, at $1.74.
Meanwhile, taxi operator ComfortDelgro’s stock gained six cents, or 4.2 per cent, to $1.48 on optimism that the opening of the economy would boost demand for its services. Even SBS Transit was up, adding six cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $2.94.
Hospitality stocks were also cheered by the news.
CDL Hospitality Trusts gained seven cents, or 6 per cent, to $1.24, while Far East Hospitality Trust rose two cents, or 3.3 per cent, to 62.5 cents. Serviced apartment specialist Ascott Trust gained three cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $1.10, while Frasers Hospitality Trust rose two cents, or 4.3 per cent, to 48.5 cents.
In his 11am address, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore is now in a position to ease restrictions, given its high level of vaccinations. As at yesterday, about 95 per cent of the eligible population are vaccinated.
Mr Philip Goh, the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata) regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific, said: “Iata welcomes Singapore’s announcement to open its border further to all vaccinated travellers for quarantine-free entry into Singapore.
“This is certainly a positive step forward and a shot in the arm for the aviation sector, and will enable airlines to ramp up their services in the recovery phase.”
Correction note: An earlier version of this article said Singapore Airlines posted its biggest one-day gain in recent memory as its shares surged 38 cents, or 7.6 per cent, to $5.38 just before the midday trading break. This has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.