Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday on growing expectations that Britons would vote to remain in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.
Sentiment was also boosted by higher oil prices, with US crude joining Brent above $50 a barrel after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a larger-than-expected draw on stocks.
Recent polls on Brexit have led markets to be a bit more upbeat compared to last week, said Singapore-based DBS Bank economist Gundy Cahyadi.
Latest opinion polls have mostly shown a shift towards keeping Britain in the EU, while there are signs that momentum has stalled for the ‘In’ camp and the vote still looks too close to call.
Meanwhile, sentiment at Asia’s biggest companies climbed to the highest in a year in the second quarter, helped by signs that China’s economy was slowly recovering, a Thomson Reuters/INSEAD survey showed.
Singapore shares hit a near two-week high, with rig-builder Keppel Corp among the top percentage gainers.
Thai shares were marginally higher ahead of the central bank’s policy meeting later in the day, where it is expected to leave rates unchanged.
Meanwhile, Philippine shares were little changed after five sessions of gains, with mining stocks leading the losses after incoming President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Tuesday that he would cancel mining projects causing environmental harm.