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Interest rate hike in Indonesia underscores divergence with the Philippines

September 13, 2013

JAKARTA - At its monthly policy meeting, Bank Indonesia has unexpectedly hiked interest rates for a fourth time since June, bringing the benchmark policy rate to 7.25%, a cumulative increase of 150 basis points since June. The move was in response to high inflation (8.8% in August, well above the official target of 3.5-5.5%) and downward currency pressures - the rupiah has depreciated against the US dollar by 15% since early June, although stabilising in recent days at around 11,000 per US$.

Improving investment leads to upward revision to Japan’s Q2 GDP

September 13, 2013

TOKYO – Japan’s Q2 GDP has been revised upwards to 3.8% saar (0.9% q/q sa) from the 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%).

Bouyant FDI supporting economic recovery in Vietnam

September 12, 2013

HO CHI MINHI CITY - Buoyant FDI continues to support recovery. As of August 20, registered FDI reached US$12.6 billion, soaring 19.5% from a year earlier. This was backed by 768 new projects mostly focussing on the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, FDI disbursements edged up 3.8% y-o-y to US$ 7.6 billion, and became a key factor contributing to a marked improvements in production activity.

Citi partners with InvestPenang to promote treasury management operations

September 11, 2013

PENANG: Citi is teaming up with InvestPenang to promote Penang and Malaysia as a strategic centre for treasury management activities. The Government-private sector pro-business collaboration aims to encourage foreign and local companies in the technology industry to centralize or consolidate their regional or global treasury management operations in Malaysia.

China’s August data beats expectations, adds evidence of recovery

September 12, 2013

HONG KONG - Upside surprises in August data releases suggest that China’s economy is bottoming out. Industrial production and retail sales growth was stronger than expected, reflective of the impact of Beijing's mini stimulus. Investment growth picked up on the back of accelerating infrastructure investment and rebounding manufacturing investment. HSBC says that, coupled with the recent improvement in China's PMIs, the fresh data implies that growth will likely stay above 7.5% in coming quarters.

Taiwan commits to purchase US$4 billion of US grain over two years

September 11, 2013

WASHINGTON - The Taiwan Feed Industry Association on behalf of the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission HAS signed a letter of intent with the US Grains Council committing to the purchase five million metric tonnes (197 million bushels) of US corn in 2014 and 2015. In addition, 0.5 million tonnes of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) will be included in the memorandum.

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.