The best performing stocks were China Jinjiang Environment and China Everbright Water.

Singapore's top five utility stocks opened the year on solid footing as average total returns hit 17% in 2019 YTD following an average decline of 31% in 2018, according to a note from SGX Research.

"The Utilities Sector led market cap weighted sector performances in Dec 2018 & Jan 2019," the firm noted.

The five stocks - Keppel Infrastructure Trust, CITIC Envirotech, China Everbright Water, China Jinjiang Environment and SIIC Environment Holdings - received net institutional inflow of $1.9m for the six weeks ending 7 February. Together, they have a market cap of $5.7b.

The best performing utility stocks out of the five was China Jinjiang Environment after generating a 27.2% in total return to reverse a 25.9% loss it suffered in 2018. It was followed by China Everbright which hit returns of 18.3% whilst CITIC Envirotech had early year gains of 17.1% on the back of increased trading volumes.

SIIC Environment Holdings and Keppel Infrastructure Trust hit average returns of 16.4% and 6% respectively.