SINGAPORE (Sept 4): Six of the biggest agriculture-focused stocks listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) are beating global agriculture benchmarks so far this year, according to data from Bloomberg and SGX.

Wilmar International, Olam International, Golden Agri-Resources, First Resources, Japfa and Bumitama Agri each have a market capitalisation above $1 billion. As of Aug 27, they have a combined market capitalisation of $35.8 billion.

Year-to-date, the six stocks with a significant agriculture business have averaged gains of 3.7%, compared to a 2.6% decline in the Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Index over the same period.

The gains were led by industrial agri-food company Japfa, which saw gains of 43.6% YTD.

In the 2Q18 ended June, Japfa reported earnings of US$29.6 million, turning around from a loss of US$3.4 million a year ago. 2Q18 revenue grew 14% to US$901 million on the back of higher sales volume and improved margins for PT Japfa Tbk, as well as a recovery in the Vietnam market under the Animal Protein Other (APO) segment.

Olam and Wilmar also contributed to the higher average returns of the agriculture-focused stocks, registering gains of 8.6% and 7.7% YTD, respectively.

According to SGX, the six stocks were together subject to net buy inflows totalling $81 million, led by inflows into Wilmar International, Japfa and Olam International.

Over the first seven months of 2018, institutions have been net buyers of four of the six stocks, SGX says in a market update on Aug 28.

As at 2.40pm, shares in Wilmar are trading flat at $3.17, shares in Olam are trading 1 cent higher at $2.03, shares in Golden Agri-Resources are trading 1 cent higher at 30 cents, shares in First Resources are trading 1 cent lower at $1.58, shares in Japfa are trading 2.5 cents higher at 69.5 cents, and shares in Bumitama Agri are trading half a cent lower at 70 cents.