Health and Beauty

Medical provider inventories are growing in Singapore as Covid circumstances improve

Latex gloves are filled with water in a waterproof test room at a Top Glove factory in Selangor, Malaysia on December 3, 2015.

Charles Pertwee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – The stocks of several medical suppliers in Singapore rose this month, coinciding with renewed spikes in daily global Covid-19 infections.

Singapore-listed shares of Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of medical gloves, are up 18.4% since March 31st. The company’s shares in Malaysia, where it is based, rose 24.3% over the same period.

Other stocks of Singapore medical suppliers that rose sharply this month include:

These stocks all outperformed the Straits Times benchmark index, which rose 0.7% between March 31 and Thursday. Geoff Howie, market strategist on the Singapore Exchange, told CNBC in an email that they were also among the top 100 most traded stocks in the Singapore market this year.

Howie said a revival in daily confirmed Covid-19 cases and vaccine safety concerns may have sparked investor interest in these stocks.

Worldwide, the 7-day moving average of the daily reported Covid cases reached a record high of more than 797,500 on Wednesday. This comes from a CNBC analysis of the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. A major reason for the surge is an increase in daily reported cases in India, the data showed.

A moving average compensates for large spikes and drops in daily data that could be caused by the availability of tests or the frequency of reporting.

Overall, coronavirus cases reached more than 143 million cases worldwide, with around 3 million deaths on Wednesday, Hopkins data showed.

The surge in cases has also occurred as advances in Covid vaccination vary widely between rich and poor countries in what the World Health Organization has called a “shocking imbalance”.

Ben May, director of global macro-research at consulting firm Oxford Economics, said the recent surge in Covid infections is “clearly a major public health concern” – but it is not yet weighing on the global economy.

“Right now, it seems that the surge in cases partly reflects a growing desire by governments and individuals to get back to normal. If so, higher case numbers may not necessarily signal weaker activity ahead,” he wrote in a Monday report .

May added that the economic outlook could become more uncertain if the surge in Covid infections kills further attempts to reopen economies or leads to greater voluntary social distancing between people.

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