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China’s August CPI growth slows to 2.6%, producer price index still negative

September 11, 2013

BEIJING – China’s consumer price index rose 2.6% in August, down from 2.7% in July, while the producer price index, another indicator measuring inflation at the wholesale level, remained in negative at -1.6%, compared with -2.3% in the previous month, according to data from the National Statistics Bureau. PPI inflation showed a significant rebound, but remained negative for the 18th consecutive month, suggesting that demand remains sluggish. The increase in CPI is partially due to adverse weather conditions this summer which drove up food prices, including floods and severe drought.

China one of three largest outbound investors in 2012

September 11, 2013

BEIJING - Outbound direct investment (ODI) from China grew by 17.6% on-year in 2012 to US$ 87.8 billion, placing China among the top three outbound investors for the first time, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Investment in manufacturing, mining, and finance totalled US$ 493.1 billion in 2012, 92.4% of total ODI. China’s accumulated outbound direct investment reached US$ 531.9 billion at the end of 2012.

Stronger Chinese demand stabilises commodities prices

September 11, 2013

HONG KONG - Stabilisation in Chinese economic conditions has helped support global commodity prices in the past couple of months. The overall IMF primary commodity price index rose 1.1% in August (in US$ terms) to be 0.1% higher over the past year. Metals prices had the strongest performance, rising by 4.8% in the month, while the price of energy commodities was +2.3% higher. The weaker area for the month was food prices, which fell 4.6% in August to be 7.2% lower over the past year, reflecting an ongoing pick-up in supply.

India’s exports accelerate as oil imports rebound

September 10, 2013

NEW DELHI – India’s August external trade deficit of US$10.9 billion was above expectations and an improvement on the July figure of US$12.3 billion. After averaging a deficit of US$15.5 billion for the first six months, two months of markedly lower deficits are likely to please the RBI and the Government, and possibly the markets, given recent efforts to address current account strains, says ANZ Bank.

Improving investment leads to upward revision to Japan Q2 GDP

September 9, 2013

TOKYO - Q2 GDP in Japan has been revised up to 3.8% saar (0.9% q/q sa) from a preliminary reading of 2.6% saar (0.6% q/q sa), as capital spending, the missing ingredient until now in Japan’s economic revival, posted a strong increase. In particular, private non-residential investment growth was revised up to 1.3% q/q sa in Q2 from a preliminary reading of -0.1%, and public investment growth was revised up to 3.0% q/q sa (1st preliminary reading: 1.8%).

China exports rise 7.2% in August as global demand lifts

September 9, 2013

BEIJING - Exports from China increased by 7.2% on-year to US$190.61 billion in August compared to 5.1% in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The stronger-than-expected surplus stems from a rebound in global demand and is another sign that the economy is recovering following an increase in both the official and HSBC PMI readings. The rising surplus also suggests that appreciation pressures on the RMB are likely to continue in the foreseeable future.

Malaysia’s trade surplus narrows as regional exports improve

September 6, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR – Commenting on the release of new trade figures by Malaysia, ANZ Bank points to Malaysia’s large fiscal deficit, saying that the ongoing narrowing in Malaysia’s trade balance is a concern and one that international capital will not view favourably.  ANZ says that while the July trade balance remained in surplus, the market reacted negatively because the surplus was lower than forecast.

Emerging Markets output edges higher, confidence up: HSBC

September 6, 2013

HONG KONG - The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), a monthly indicator derived from the PMI surveys, has recovered from July’s post-crisis low in August, but signalled only a marginal rise in output across global emerging markets. The EMI rose from 49.5 to 50.7, the third-lowest figure in more than four years, but it was the first rise in the headline figure since March.

India’s new Central Bank Governor hits the right notes

September 6, 2013

NEW DELHI - Living up to his reputation, Dr. Raghuram Rajan (former IMF Chief Economist and Economic Advisor to the Government) hit the right notes on his first day as the Reserve Bank of India’s new Governor. Amid continued currency pressures and slowing growth, Rajan made clear his intention to bolster the rupee’s stability by deepening financial markets and easing external financing constraints, announcing more steps to attract capital inflows and boost demand for the domestic currency.

Philippines inflation continues to decline, growth above trend

September 6, 2013

MANILA - The deceleration in Philippine inflation (core inflation has fallen to a record low of 1.9% year-on-year) has continued, despite growth remaining at or slightly above trend. But while both headline and core inflation continue to moderate, Philippine GDP growth remains strong at 7.5% on-year. ANZ Bank says it stands by its call for monetary policy to remain on hold through 2013, while pencilling in a 25bps rate hike in the second half of 2014, because it believes potential growth may, in fact, be higher than the current level.

Diabetes may have reached ‘alert’ level in China

September 6, 2013

WASHINGTON - Diabetes in China may have reached "an alert level", according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. It says nearly 12% of adults reportedly have diabetes, while about 50% are at risk of developing the disease  - which means up to 113.9 million adults are diabetic and another 493.4 million are estimated to be pre-diabetic,. Prevalence of diabetes has reached 11.6% of adults, surpassing the 2007 rate of 9.7%, with only 30% of diabetics are aware of their condition, according to the Journal.

Commodity prices to hold at high levels, says HSBC

September 6, 2013

SYDNEY - Despite China’s slowdown, commodity prices have been broadly steady over the past year, and are still more than 120% above their 1990s average, according to a new report by HSBC Australia. “Rising supply suggests further modest declines in commodity prices are likely in coming years, but we still expect them to stay well above their 1980s and 1990s levels,” HSBC says.

Chinese, Japanese lenders top list of largest Asia-Pacific banks by assets

September 5, 2013

BEIJING - China- and Japan-based institutions account for more than two-thirds of the 25 largest banks by pro forma assets in the Asia-Pacific region, according to US-based SNC Financial. Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. takes the title of largest bank in the region with total assets of US$2.953 trillion at March 31. The bank also recently topped the list of largest banks in the region by market cap.

Taiwan to hold world lead in semi-conductor spending

September 4, 2013

TAIPEI - Taiwan will hold its leading position in equipment expenditure for semiconductor manufacturing in 2013 despite a contraction in the global market, according to global industry group SEMI. Led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, Taiwan is expected to invest US$10.43 billion in semiconductor equipment this year, up 9.4% from US$9.53 billion in 2012, said SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics industries.