LAUSANNE -The United States has regained top spot in world competitive ness rankings for 2013, thanks to a rebounding financial sector, an abundance of technological innovation and successful companies, In rankings just published for 60 economies by IMD, a global business school based in Switzerland, says Abenomics seems to be working for Japan, which moves from 27th to 24th spot. China moves up from 23rd to 21st, but Hong Kong drops from top of the pile to third. Prof.
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WASHINGTON – The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed an MoU with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to help protect the lives of women and children in Burma. USAID and P&G will seek to develop a multi-year, multi-programme Global Development Alliance that will invest at least US$2 million over the first two years to provide access to 200 million litres of clean drinking water, promote better hygiene behaviour, and build capability linked to improvements in delivery of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services.
HONG KONG - China is finally about to amend its law for the protection of consumers, almost 20 years after it was first promulgated in October 1993. On April 28 this year, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee published a draft amended law for comments by May 31, and this law is expected to be promulgated later this year, after two more rounds of Standing Committee discussion. In a Client Alert issued today, lawyers Baker & McKenzie say the draft of the law strengthens protection of consumers’ rights and imposes more obligations on businesses.
NEW DELHI – Just weeks after a military stand-off between China and India in the Himalays, leaders of India and China have agreed to study new ways to ease tensions along their ill-defined border. Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, on his first foreign trip since taking office, met with India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi to offer a "handshake across the Himalayas" . Li said the world's most populous nations could become a new engine for the global economy if they could avoid such irritants.
HONG KONG – In a Global Research report released today, HSBC has predicted continued strength in the US dollar, and has revised its year-end forecasts for a number of currencies, putting the Australian dollar at 90 US cents (previous forecast 0.95), the Euro at 1.24 (previously 1.35), Sterling at 1.45 (previously 1.48), the NZ dollar at 0.78 (previously 0.74) and the Canadian dollar at 1.09 (previously 0.95). “We believe we have entered a USD bull environment,” HSBC says.
BANGKOK - Thailand’s headline GDP growth for the first quarter fell well short of consensus at 5.3% year-on-year. Domestic demand disappointed, although credit growth and car sales should prevent a further material weakening of domestic demand going forward, says ANZ, adding that this will perhaps be the key to Thailand’s near-term monetary policy outlook. ANZ expects domestic demand to continue to underpin Thailand’s growth over the balance of 2013. “Domestic credit grew at average of 15.6% y/y in Q1, while automobile purchases continued to expand.
BEIJING - China Railway Corp., the business division of China’s former Ministry for Railways, has begun to issue bonds worth RMB20 billion in five-year notes to finance railway investments through private investment. The corporation faces large debts inherited from the dissolved Ministry. It remains unclear, however, how proprietary rights and financial settlements for joint-venture trunk railway lines will be defined, a lingering uncertainty for investors.
TAIPEI - Taiwan’s export orders declined 1.1% on-year in April, following contraction of 6.6% in March. Export orders for the month from China and the US saw improvements, with ICT product orders from the US a strong contributor. Taiwan’s export ordersfor the first four months of 2013 have contracted by 1.6% on-year.
HONG KONG – The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI™ for May has come in at 49.6, down from 50.4 in April – putting it at a seven-month low. The Flash China Manufacturing Output Index was down marginally, to 51.0 (51.1 in April), a three-month low. Data for the Survey, collected between May 13 and May 21, showed manufacturing output increasing, but at a slower rate, with new orders actually decreasing. New export orders also decreased, although at a slower rate, but employment fell, at a faster rate.
SINGAPORE - Standard & Poor's has affirmed its 'BBB-' long-term and 'A-3' short-term unsolicited sovereign credit ratings on India, but says the outlook on the long-term rating remains negative. “India's long-term growth prospects, underpinned by its favourable demographic profile, and its high foreign exchange reserves, support the ratings,” S&P says.
BEIJING – China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), have released a guideline to promote FDI into environment-friendly and labour-intensive industries in the nation’s Central and Western Provinces. The country aims for more FDI in agricultural and mining products, such as zinc and tin in Guangxi. Utilised foreign capital in central and western regions reached US$19.21 billion, up 36.7% from 2008, representing an increase of 4.2% of the national total in 2012, up 17.2% over the same time period.
BEIJING - Volkswagen Group has announced plans to produce a low-cost model (priced between RMB47,700 and RMB55,700) with its joint venture partner, FAW Car Co., as part of VW’s goal to be the world’s largest carmaker by 2018. China represented 31% of VW’s 9.2 million deliveries last year, with plans recently announced to build seven new factories in China, and the release of new and updated models in 2013. Increasing demand for VW products in China has helped counteract declining demand in Europe
NEW DELHI - A new opinion poll prepared by the Lowy Institute, AN Australian think-tank, in partnership with the Australia India Institute, reveals that most Indians are positive about their economic prospects, supportive of democratic rights and deeply opposed to corruption. An overwhelming majority (80-85%) consider potential shortages of energy, food and water are ‘big threats’ to their country’s security.
GUANGZHOU - The Spring session of the Canton Fair, which closed on May 5, has outperformed expectations, welcomed more than 200,000 overseas purchasers, up 7% on the previous session. Organisers say the value of trade deals struck at the biannual event reached US$ 35.5 billion, an increase of nearly 9%. Observers said the results indicated steady improvement in this year's trade situation. China's foreign trade rose 13.4% on-year in the first quarter of 2013, with exports increasing 18.4%.
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) is to introduce new stock index futures and stock futures on three A-share Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) as part of continuing efforts to expand its suite of Mainland China-related products. CES China 120 Index (CES 120) futures will be introduced from July 8, subject to regulatory approval.
HONG KONG - Asia-Pacific will represent half of the world's corporate debt demand of US$53 trillion over 2013-2017, with China comprising a third of global demand, according to a new report by Standard & Poor’s. "China's credit surge will propel Asia-Pacific's corporate debt to levels exceeding the combined debt of Western countries comprising the US, Canada, Eurozone and the UK," S&P credit analyst Terry Chan said. "We believe that Asia-Pacific's banks, which provide nine-tenths of corporate financing in the region, have the capacity to take on this monumental financing task.