By Pranav A K
Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday, as risk appetite was boosted after countries such as Thailand, Italy and Spain eased lockdown restrictions and reopened their economies.
Centres of the outbreak from New York to Italy and Spain gradually lift restrictions that have kept millions cooped up for months.
Vietnam's index rose 1.2%, the most among countries in the region, lifted by financial companies.
"As lockdowns lift, attention will increasingly turn to the speed of normalisation in output and employment," said Brian Martin, Senior International Economist at ANZ.
"History suggests that V-shaped recoveries are rare. The deeper the recession, the longer it takes to recover."
Singapore stocks closed 0.9% higher and marked their biggest intraday percentage gain since May 6, after data showed the country's annual exports rose for the third straight month in April.
Non-oil domestic exports in the city-state, a bellwether for global trade, rose 9.7% in April, supported by a sharp rise in pharmaceutical shipments.
"The numbers, while welcome, flatter to deceive. Outsized gains in the medical sector are boosting exports," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Capitaland Mall Trust, up 5.2%, was the top gainer. Its gains were closely followed by Mapletree Commercial Trust and transport services provider SATS Ltd , which rose 3.8% and 4.4%, respectively.
Thai shares rose 0.5%, its biggest percentage gain in a week, as energy stocks were lifted by higher oil prices. [O/R]
Bangkok on Sunday opened malls and department stores for the first time since March as the number of new coronavirus cases slowed.
That helped investors looked past data showing Thailand's economy contracted at its sharpest pace in eight years in the first quarter, pushing Southeast Asia's second largest economy into recession sooner than expected. [nL4N2CV2J7
Vietnam's Petrolimex Insurance Corp gained 6.8%, while Ca Mau Trading Joint Stock Company, a marketer of oil-based products, rose 7%.
Philippines was the region's sole loser, down 1.1%, and closed at its lowest level in nearly three weeks.
Index heavyweight Ayala Corp lost 4.5%, while Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co fell 4.1%.
Indonesia's benchmark index traded sideways ahead of the central bank's monetary policy decision on Tuesday.
(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)