Most Southeast Asian stock markets firmed on Thursday as news of further talks between Beijing and Washington bolstered hopes of a trade deal being struck before the March 2 deadline.
Singapore shares gained as much as 0.9 per cent following a two-day holiday, helped by industrial and telecom stocks.The market was on track to snap two straight sessions of losses.
Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd climbed as much as 3.1 per cent and was the biggest boost to the benchmark index, while Singapore Telecommunications Ltd rose up to 2.0 per cent.
Philippine stocks strengthened 0.6 per cent, boosted by industrials and financials, ahead of the central bank policy meeting, reports Reuters.
The central bank is expected to leave interest rates on hold for a second straight meeting, with inflation in January easing to its slowest in 10 months.
Inflation has been a cause of concern in the archipelago with rates rising since the start of 2018 and reaching a 10-year high in September, prompting the central bank to raise rates by a total of 175 basis points in five consecutive meetings in 2018.
Index heavyweights SM Prime Holdings Inc and SM Investments Corp gained 1.2 per cent each.
Utilities and telecoms helped the Malaysian benchmark stock index gain 0.4 per cent. Tenaga Nasional Bhd firmed 1.4 per cent, while Maxis Bhd strengthened 2.2 per cent.
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