SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian stock markets recovered to close higher on Wednesday, with Singapore settling at its highest in 31 months.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent as crude oil futures gained some lost ground. Crude oil futures climbed after investors took profits following their surge to two-year highs in the previous session on an unplanned closure of a pipeline that carries the largest volume of North Sea crude oil. Meanwhile, Democrat Doug Jones won a bitter fight for a Senate seat in deeply conservative Alabama, causing the dollar to dip from a four-week high, and taking the spotlight away from the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting. Investor sentiment in Southeast Asia got a boost after Manila-based Asian Development Bank raised its economic growth estimate for developing Asia to 6 percent for this year from 5.9 percent, citing stronger-than-expected exports and China’s resilience. Southeast Asian stock markets had gained 5.8 percent to 39 percent so far this year as of Wednesday’s close, with Vietnam emerging as the top performer.
Singapore shares closed marginally higher after declining as much as 0.4 percent earlier in the day.
Financials led the comeback, with United Overseas Bank and DBS Group rebounding from early falls to close at record highs.
Economists have raised their forecasts for Singapore’s economic growth this year, as they upgraded their views on manufacturing and exports, a central bank survey showed. Malaysian shares climbed 0.5 percent to close at their highest in over one month. Genting Bhd and Genting Malaysia Bhd were the biggest boost, rising over 4 percent each.
Philippine shares ended 0.3 percent higher, led by consumer staple and telecom stocks. JG Summit Holdings Inc gained 5.2 percent, while PLDT Inc climbed 1.5 percent.
Vietnam shares gave up early gains to close 0.3 percent lower, with Vietcombank declining 1.6 percent.