Singapore's benchmark index hit a five-year high with local banks, ahead of their earning reports, among the top gainers.
The Straits Times Index was up 0.85 percent at 3,319.19, a 4.8 percent gain since Dec. 31, 2012. Asian shares advanced on Monday, with the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.6 percent.
Shares in United Overseas Bank Ltd jumped as much as 2.2 percent to S$19.29, the highest in three weeks, while DBS Group shares surged to the highest since August 2011, gaining as much as 1.3 percent to S$15.35.
CIMB Research said 2012 ended well and it expects positive surprises from fee income drivers, even though loan growth is likely to moderate.
"While loans growth is likely to slow, there is strong underlying momentum in fee income," CIMB said in a report on local banks, choosing DBS its top pick for its strength in debt capital markets and cheap valuations.