Why Jefferies bumped Singapore's DBS and OCBC up to 'buy' ratings

Aerial view of Singapore's central business district and bayfront area.
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SINGAPORE — Jefferies said this week that Singapore's two largest banks by assets, DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, are now a "buy."

The upgrade for DBS and OCBC from a "hold" rating followed the banks' third-quarter earnings releases last week. Their financial reports pointed to a recovery in some business areas as Singapore and several East Asian markets they operate in have managed to control their Covid-19 outbreaks, which allowed economic activity to resume.

DBS and OCBC, along with their smaller peer United Overseas Bank, have seen huge losses in their share prices for much of this year. But the shares have been climbing in the past week, with DBS and OCBC outperforming the benchmark FTSE Straits Times Index so far this year.