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Shares of Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) Ltd rose as much as 6.5 percent on hopes that improving Chinese trade data would translate into more orders in the longer term.
China said on Thursday its exports grew 14.1 percent in December from a year ago to hit a seven-month peak, handsomely beating market expectations of a 4 percent rise.
"Shipping related stocks are in play because of the good Chinese trade data. With better trade, shipping could improve, which could in turn benefit the shipbuilders," said a local trader.
Yangzijiang shares climbed 5.1 percent to S$1.135, while rival COSCO Corp (Singapore) Ltd was up 5.1 percent at S$1.035. Both were the third and fourth most actively traded stocks by value.
Container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines Ltd gained 0.4 percent, extending Thursday's 7 percent gains. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which operates ports in China, rose 3 percent to S$0.845.