GENEVA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says global air freight demand statistics for January 2013 showing a stabilisation of air freight markets on the back of encouraging growth towards the end of 2012. Compared to the previous year, demand for air freight was apparently very strong, with a rise of 5.0%. However, the rise was from an exceptionally low base, caused by the timing of Chinese New Year, which occurred in February this year, skewing year-on-year comparisons as many Asian factories close (and last year the holiday period occurred in January).
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TAIPEI - UBS has raised its forecast for Taiwan's gross domestic product growth for 2013 to 4.2% from an earlier estimate of 3.7% on the back of a rebound in exports as global demand revives. UBS says in a research report that Taiwan's economy showed signs of a rebound in the fourth quarter of last year, posting higher-than-expected GDP growth of 3.72%, and that economic momentum is expected to continue. UBS also predicts that Taiwan's private consumption will grow by more than 2% in 2013 (ATI).
SYDNEY - Emirates is to introduce a second daily A380 aircraft to its Sydney-Dubai route, upgrading the morning service from Sydney to Dubai from June 2. Upgrading Emirates flights EK414 and EK415 from the Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380-800 will see an increase in capacity of ,1890 seats per week. Barry Brown, Emirates’ Vice President Australasia, sad that a second A380 service from Sdey complemented Emirates’ proposed plans for the partnership with Qantas.
SEOUL - South Korea has reported that its February exports fell by 8.6% y/y on a stronger won and the effects of less working days in the month due to the Lunar New Year. BBVA says it expects Korea’s economy to gradually improve on a pick-up in the global environment, athough a strong won may present headwinds (ATI).
NEW DELHI - India’s real GDP growth slowed sharply in 4Q12 to 4.5% y/y, down from 5.3% in Q3 and its lowest growth since March 2009, as decelerating services growth and weak agriculture offset a pickup in industrial activity. The Q4 outturn brings India’s full year GDP growth to a decade-low 5.2% y/y in 2012. BBVA researchers say that while sequential consumption and investment indicators suggest a gradual recovery, waning fiscal support and a high trade deficit present downside risks to its 2013 growth projection of 6.5% y/y.
SINGAPORE -Standard & Poor's has affirmed its 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings on Sri Lanka, and says the outlook remains stable. “We also affirmed the recovery rating at '4'. The transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment is unchanged at 'B+'.” S&P says the ratings reflect its view of Sri Lanka's weak external liquidity - a moderately high and increasing net external liability position. “Additional rating constraints include the country's fundamental fiscal weaknesses, and the attendant high government debt and interest burdens.
BEIJING - The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai reports that 91% of companies in a survey are optimistic about their Chinese operations, despite business dropping for the second year in a row in 2012. Of the 420 companies surveyed, 73% of US companies in China said they were profitable last year, declining from 78% in 2011 and 79% the year before. Around 75% of companies did say, however, that they were planning to increase investments in China this year.
JAKARTA - Headline inflation in Indonesia came in well above expectations in February, driven by food, but core inflation was stable. Commenting on the results, ANZ Bank says a key risk moving forward is whether food inflation generates second round effects. “Although food prices are typically more a function of supply rather than demand in emerging markets, significant wage rises across Indonesia may motivate local farmers to become price makers rather than takers,” ANZ says.
BEIJING – The China Research Centre on Aging says the number of China’s elderly will reach 202 million in 2013, accounting for 14.8% of the total population. Defined as people over 60 years old, the elderly population has grown by 8.91 million people year-on-year. The announcement increases fears of a shrinking working population and an increasing dependent population, with dependents increasing from 44.62% of the total population in 2012 to 45.94% in 2013.
HONG KONG – Leighton Contractors (Asia) has secured a design and build contract for a new hospital in Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong, value at AUD370 million. It will be a 12-storey complex providing in-patient care services with 260 beds. The contract is to be completed in 2016. www.leightonasia.com (ATI).
SINGAPORE - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services says Hong Kong's projected budgetary surplus for this fiscal year strengthens the Government's robust fiscal position, which underpins the issuer credit rating (AAA/Stable/A-1+; cnAAA/cnA-1+). The Government estimates the consolidated surplus for fiscal 2012-2013 (ending March) at HK$ 64.9 billion, or 3.2% of GDP. The surplus reflects the resilient earnings and profitability of local enterprises, increased land sales, and lower expenditure than the Government initially projected.
SYDNEY - The increased urbanisation of Asia over the next 20 years will prompt a shift in the composition of Australia’s exports and trade partners, according to HSBC’s latest trade forecast report, Global Connections. It forecasts that, by 2030, Australia’s exports will shift from industrial commodities, like iron ore – currently used in the first stage of Asia’s industrialisation – to commodities needed to support Asia’s more sophisticated consumer needs like base metals and mineral fuels.
HONG KONG - The Bank of China (BOC) Hong Kong and The Bank of China Taipei branch, the official RMB clearing banks in Hong Kong and Taiwan, today (March 1) began offering RMB term deposits for participant banks. Notably, the interest rates offered for term deposits by BOC HK are lower than those for Bank of China’s Taipei branch. At the same time, the clearing bank has also raised the overnight deposit rate for participant banks in Hong Kong to 0.648%, from 0.629% previously. The overnight rate in Hong Kong is now level with Taiwan’s overnight rate.
BRISBANE – Listed Australian firm Altura Mining Limited (ASX: AJM) has acquired a one-third equity stake in an operating coal mine in East Kalimantan, Indonesia for US$25 million. The investment signifies a change from explorer to producer for Altura, which plans further coal mine developments in Indonesia. The transaction provides a direct equity interest in PT Delta Ultima Coal (Delta Coal), the owner and operator of the PT Binamitra Sumberarta mining tenement, which produces and sells a medium energy thermal coal currently at a rate of 1.5 mtpa.
NEW DELHI - India's new budget for FY14 (year ending March 2014), presented today, delivers on three counts, according to an analysis by BBVA Bank: 1) it delivered a credible fiscal consolidation path; 2) it focussed on the quality of deficit reduction; and 3) it balanced austerity with populism without undermining economic growth. The Government said the FY13 fiscal deficit was within the targeted 5.3% of GDP (at 5.2%), with a promise to reduce the deficit to 4.8% of GDP in FY14 and to 3.0% by FY17.
MUMBAI - The troubles for the Indian banking system are likely to increase in the next 12 months due to slow economic growth and sluggish fiscal reforms. However, the situation is likely to improve in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor's. The report notes that the performances of both the Indian economy and the corporate sector are likely to start improving in fiscal 2014.