sgx trader
A trader looks at electronic screens on the dealing floor at DBS Bank's new headquarters in Singapore. REUTERS

Singapore shares rose nearly 1 percent on Friday, marking their biggest gain in close to three weeks,as stronger-than-expected China trade data and the U.S. government avoiding a shutdown buoyed risk sentiment.

Beijing reported exports surged 12.3 percent in November from a year earlier, more than double the forecast, while imports climbed almost 18 percent.

Mirroring the positive sentiment, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 percent.

Investors are awaiting catalysts that would provide reason to add to risk assets before the year draws to a close. Friday's U.S. jobs report is the next big data release on the calendar.

At 0530 GMT, the Straits Times Index climbed 0.98 percent or 33 points to 3,421. It ended 0.27 percent higher on Thursday, taking the year-to-date performance to about 18 percent.

United Overseas Bank gained 1.2 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking added 1.6 percent while DBS Group Holdings advanced 2 percent.

But embattled commodities trader Noble Group lost 1 percent after the company said it would sell its U.S.-based ethanol producing business to Mercuria Investments, instead of Zeeland Farm Services for a gross consideration of US$20 million.

Ellipsiz, which offers products and services to the semiconductor industry, lost 5 percent after it was no longer in discussions with the 'third party' relating to the possible transaction involving the shares of the company.

About 780 million shares worth S$493 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 183 to 153.