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CHINA’S PROPERTY SECTOR BOTTOMING OUT?

August 23, 2012

BEIJING - China’s harsh property control measures since 2010 successfully reined in real estate prices, but recent prices in most of the cities tracked have risen again following two interest rate cuts in early June and July. ANZ Bank says it believes China’s property market has bottomed, but that the rebound is still in its early stage. Monthly increases are marginal, and prices are still declining yearly. The ANZ China Property Price Index shows that momentum has picked up as more cities experience consecutive months of price increases.

AUSTRALIA’S KEY ASIAN TRADING PARTNERS HURTING: EFIC

August 23, 2012

SYDNEY - Australia’s key Asian trading partners now appear to be feeling the effects of softening external demand caused by Europe’s contraction and tepid recovery in the US, according to the August issue World Risk Developments, published by Australia’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC). According to Dougal Crawford, EFIC Senior Economist, non-Japan Asia grew by around 5½% on year in the June quarter – well below trend and a noticeable slowing from the 7½% pace achieved in 2011. “Slowing exports are one factor behind the GDP slowdown”, observes Crawford.

SINGAPORE’S CPI INFLATION DROPS BELOW 5%

August 23, 2012

SINGAPORE - Headline inflation fell to 4.0% on-year in July, below 5% for the first time since February this year and below expectations of 4.5%. This was partly due to favourable base effects, which are likely to keep inflation closer to 4% for the rest of the year, says ANZ Bank. However, inflation rose 0.2% month-on-month, up from zero. Favourable base effects also fed through to housing and transport. Year-on-year inflation rates in both these components dropped 3.3% to 6.4% and 5.4%, respectively. However, accommodation costs (the main driver of housing) still increased 0.5% m/m.

INDIA EASES OFFSHORE BORROWING RULES

August 23, 2012

NEW DELHI – The Reserve Bank of India has eased overseas borrowing rules to allow easier access to cheap funding for low-cost housing projects. Foreign institutional investors are now permitted to invest up to USD5 billion in Rupee bonds, and the minimum maturity period of these bonds has been lowered to three years from seven years (ATI).

NEW CHINA EXPORT BUSINESS IN SHARPEST FALL SINCE MARCH 2009

August 23, 2012

HONG KONG – The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI™ for August has come in at 47.8 (49.3 in July), a nine-month low. The Flash China Manufacturing Output Index was at 47.9 (50.9 in July), a five-month low. The HSBC PMI is the earliest available indicator of manufacturing sector operating conditions in China, with the estimate typically based on approximately 85%–90% of total PMI survey responses each month. The China Flash Manufacturing PMI showed both new orders and new export orders contracting at a faster rate, with both output and input prices declining at a faster rate.

VIETNAM WILL BE ‘CAUTIOUS’ ON FURTHER INTEREST CUTS

August 22, 2012

HANOI - Vietnam’s central bank will be “very cautious” with regard to additional interest rate cuts because it may increase inflation and currency instability, the bank;s Governor, Nguyen Van Binh, has told the National Assembly. He said the bank expects inflation to be at a level of 6-7% by year-end. He added that the central bank is waiting for the Prime Minister to approve measures to increase bank scrutiny that would limit non-performing loans (ATI).

CHINA ENERGY-SAVING TO TRIM COAL NEEDS BY 300 MILLION TONNES

August 22, 2012

BEIJING - China plans to invest RMB2.37 trillion in major energy-saving projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), according to a document released by the State Council. The projects are expected to save an equivalent of 300 million tonnes of coal through to 2015. In a previously unveiled blueprint for energy-saving programmes, Chinese authorities have established a goal of cutting energy consumption per RMB10,000 of GDP by 16% by 2015 compared with 2010, saving 670 million metric tonnes of coal equivalent.

CHINA CAN AFFORD ANOTHER BIG STIMULUS PROGRAMME: S&P

August 22, 2012

SINGAPORE - China has not introduced another large stimulus programme this year, despite growing economic tensions, but it remains an option if conditions sharply deteriorate, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. "The Government retains significant capacity to support economic growth, if needed, partly because of China's sizable financial assets," says S&P credit analyst, Kim Eng Tan. S&P says the Government may be prepared to pump money into the economy if the currently stable unemployment rate rises steeply.

HKEx TO INTRODUCE RMB CURRENCY FUTURES ON SEPTEMBER 17

August 22, 2012

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) will introduce renminbi (RMB) currency futures on September 17. The US Dollar vs Renminbi (Hong Kong) or USD/CNH* Futures contract will be the world’s first deliverable RMB Currency Futures. HKeX says USD/CNH Futures will require delivery of USD by the seller and payment of the Final Settlement Value in RMB by the buyer at maturity. The futures will be quoted in RMB per USD (for example, RMB 6.2486 per USD) and margined in RMB, with the trading and settlement fees charged in RMB.

INDIA REVISES INFLATION NUMBERS DOWN, BUT FOOD ON THE RISE

August 21, 2012

NEW DELHI - Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation rate in June has been revised downwards to 9.93% from the provisional estimate of 10.02%, according to Government data. Vegetable prices showed the biggest price increase, up 27.33%, followed by edible oils at 17.37% and pulses and by-products at 12.49% in July, on an on-year basis. Prices of eggs, fish and meat shot up 11.11%, while non-alcoholic beverages were up 9.26%. According to the revised data, the inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 9.65% and 10.44% in June.

TAIWAN WANTS TO DOUBLE NUMBER OF FOREIGN FIRM RHQs

August 21, 2012

TAIPEI - The Taiwan Government is hoping to attract more foreign companies to set up regional headquarters in its bid to position Taiwan as an Asia-Pacific regional hub. The number of regional headquarters in Taiwan is expected to double from the current 150 to 300 within three years as more foreign companies expand their presence in the country. "Most existing regional headquarters are seen as being of the 'manufacturing-type,' engaging in high-end manufacturing in Taiwan and managing operations for the Asia-Pacific region," Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said.

INDONESIA PRIORITISES INFRASTRUCTURE IN 2013 BUDGET PROPOSAL

August 21, 2012

SINGAPORE – In an assessment of Indonesia’s budget proposals for 2013, ANZ says there is a priority on infrastructure spending. “This is evident from the rollout of more than 100 projects (since May 2011) to expand and accelerate infrastructure development across the country, in line with the Government’s medium-term development plan,” ANZ says. “Alongside that 15% increase in investment outlays, a gradual pickup in spending of previously budgeted capital expenditure is also helping.

FUJI XEROX TO MANUFACTURE IN VIETNAM FOR WORLD MARKETS

August 21, 2012

SINGAPORE - To further expand its business operations in the global market, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. Is to establish a new manufacturing site in the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park at Hai Phong. Construction will begin in December 2012 and operation will start in November 2013. Total investment will be some 9 billion yen. The facility will mainly manufacture products such as digital color multifunction devices and small light-emitting diode (LED) printers, with a manufacturing capacity around two million units per year.

INDONESIA OUTLOOK BRIGHT, BUT STRUCTURAL REFORMS NEEDED

August 20, 2012

JAKARTA – In an update of its Country Report on Indonesia, credit insurer Atradius again points to a need for what it calls ‘significant structural reforms’ to improve the business environment. There is no political consensus for reforms, Atradius says. “President Yudhoyono´s power remains unchallenged, but his six-party coalition will continue to lack decisiveness.

PROGRESS IN FREE TRADE TALKS BETWEEN SINGAPORE, TAIWAN

August 20, 2012

TAIPEI - Free trade talks between Taiwan and Singapore are going smoothly, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said, adding that both sides "have reached a common consensus on most of the chapters and articles." Bilateral talks on the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership, better known as the ASTEP, have been proceeding smoothly, Shih told reporters, but declined to give further details.

CHINA’S STATE-OWNED COMPANY PROFITS DECLINE IN FIRST HALF

August 20, 2012

BEIJING - Profits of China’s State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) have continued to drop in 2012 amid global economic headwinds, new data shows. For the first half of 2012 they fell 13.2% on-year to RMB1.2 trillion, according to the Ministry of Finance. On a monthly basis, SOEs' combined profits in July dropped 11.6% from June, the Ministry said. For the January-July period, the tobacco, power and car industries saw big gains, while the chemicals, nonferrous metals, transportation, petrochemical and construction materials industries experienced steep declines.

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