Feb 25, 2015

    Greek reform plans lift S-E Asian markets


    SOUTH-EAST Asian stock markets ended stronger yesterday, with Indonesia and the Philippines hitting record highs, but further gains were capped on caution ahead of United States Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen's statement due later in the day.

    Sentiment was boosted after Greece submitted reform plans with pledges to not roll back any ongoing or completed privatisations and ensure that any efforts to address a "humanitarian crisis" does not hurt its budget.

    Singapore share prices closed higher yesterday, with the Straits Times Index up 16.31 points to 3,437.61.

    Volume was 1.07 billion shares worth S$1.25 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers 226 to 194.

    The Jakarta Composite Index ended 0.3 per cent higher at a record closing high of 5,417.31, while the Philippine stock index also inched up 0.1 per cent to close at an all-time high of 7,834.86.

    Dr Yellen was to deliver the central bank's semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, in the first of two days of testimony to Congress on the state of the economy.

    There was much uncertainty over whether she would echo the dovish tone of the minutes from the Fed's last meeting, or reaffirm June as a window for a first rate hike.

    Vietnam's benchmark VN Index climbed 1.7 per cent to end at its highest since Nov 17, with lender Vietcombank outperforming the market on foreign purchase.

    Manila saw a foreign inflow of US$12.07 million (S$16.4 million) and Jakarta witnessed US$32.67 million in net foreign buying. Kuala Lumpur, however, saw US$5.6 million in outflow yesterday and Bangkok witnessed US$16.78 million in net foreign selling.

    The Thai SET index closed 0.3 per cent up, while Malaysia closed 0.5 per cent stronger.

    In Kuala Lumpur, energy shipping company MISC jumped 5.4 per cent to its highest since July 2011, after it signed an agreement with Petroliam Nasional and Hyundai Heavy Industries to build five liquefied natural gas carriers.