Singapore stocks over 8-week high as central bank holds rates

Singapore stocks gained on Friday after the central bank kept its interest rates unchanged as expected.


Singapore stocks gained on Friday after the central bank kept its interest rates unchanged as expected.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) kept the monetary policy unchanged on Friday, but left room to tighten in future because of stronger economic growth.

The MAS referred to its comments in the October 2016 policy statement that "the neutral policy stance would be appropriate for an extended period", but did not say that the outlook remains same going forward.

At 0405 GMT, the Straits Times Index rose 0.43 percent or 14 points to 3,317. It ended 0.7 percent higher on Thursday, taking the year-to-date performance to about 15 percent.

United Overseas Bank added 0.4 percent, Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp gained 0.3 percent and DBS Group Holdings rose 0.1 percent.

Shares in Singtel rose 0.3 percent after its Indian unit Bharti Airtel said it would buy the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra, free of cost.

Raffles Education jumped 14 percent after its billionaire shareholder called an extraordinary general meeting in an attempt to drive out Chairman Chew Hua Seng.

Telephone directories publisher Global Yellow Pages advanced 0.5 percent after saying the deal value for purchase of a property in New Zealand has been reduced to about S$35.3 million.

About 1.1 billion shares worth S$583 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 205 to 154.

Stocks in Asia traded near decade high ahead of U.S. economic data and next week's Chinese Communist Party Congress.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.15 percent, having gained 3.6 percent so far this month.

Investors are focusing on U.S. consumer inflation figures due later in the day. Another key trigger would be China's 19th Communist Party Congress that begins on October 18, where President Xi Jinping is expected to lay out new policy initiatives and consolidate his power for a second five-year term.