Singapore stocks edge up on Monday amid regional gains

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.3 per cent or 8.4 points to close at 3,267.54. PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore stocks climbed higher on Monday, tracking gains in major regional markets amid positive sentiment over reopening prospects in China.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.26 per cent, or 8.4 points, to close at 3,267.54.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong shares led regional gains, with the Hang Seng Index jumping 4.5 per cent higher as China eased some Covid-19 measures. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.8 per cent. Key indices in Japan and Australia each closed between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent higher.

Mr Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said that Asia stocks “are a completely different beast these days” amid 2023 reopening growth tailwinds. But he added that Asia fundamentals are “not quite as rosy as they seem”, given recession concerns in major global economies.

“Exports, Asia’s main growth engine, will become a drag on activity in the coming year – and a semiconductor downcycle is already on the way,” he said. “China’s recovery will not be sufficient to prevent a significant export slowdown – with the exception of tourism-heavy economies like Thailand.”

Shares of Sats led the gainers on the STI on Monday, climbing 6.4 per cent to close at $2.84. Shares of Jardine Matheson Holdings ended at the bottom of the index performance table, after falling 2.1 per cent to close at US$47.85.

Across the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers 400 to 196 after 1.5 billion securities worth $1.1 billion were traded. 

Shares of DBS Group Holdings were the most actively traded by value on Monday, rising 0.1 per cent to $34.50 after 3.1 million shares worth $108.2 million changed hands.

Commodities advanced on the prospect of more demand from China. Oil, iron ore and copper climbed. 

“The damage being done to the Chinese economy in general, the longer the aforementioned Covid-19 restrictions stay in place, is clear to see,” wrote chief economist Simon Ballard at First Abu Dhabi Bank, in a note to clients. “China now desperately needs policies to bolster the labour market and help to underpin domestic demand.” THE BUSINESS TIMES

  • Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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