BEIJING - FDI inflows for February surprised to the upside at 6.3% y/y (consensus: -4.8%), marking the first year-over-year increase since June 2012. Together with the out-turn in January, the FDI inflow of the first two months declined by 1.3% y/y, indicating modest stabilisation. Investment from the EU increased notably (34% y/y) during January-February, while investment from US (-5.4%) and Japan (-6.7%) remained weak. At the same time, FDI outflows more than doubled in January/February over the previous year’s period. www.bbva.com (ATI).
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NEW DELHI - As anticipated, the Reserve bank of India (RBI) today reduced its benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.5% while maintaining the Cash reserve ratio at 4.0%. The move follows a 25 basis points cut at the RBI’s last policy meeting in January, and aims to stimulate investment activity as inflationary pressures abate and the Government executes much-needed fiscal reforms.
SINGAPORE - Non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell by -30.6% y/y after a small increase in January. The decline was attributable to weak demand from Europe (-52.2% y/y) and the U.S. (-52.1%). BBVA Bank says that while Singapore’s monthly data are notoriously volatile (and may be distorted by the shift in this year’s Chinese New Year timing), the disappointing out-turn is a reminder of the weak external environment, as seen recently in weak export figures from Taiwan and Korea, in contrast to a surge in January/February exports from China.
HONG KONG – The renminbi is already more convertible than many think - with just four of 40 items under the capital account still non-convertible, according to HSBC. In a new research report, HSBC says 22 items are now partially convertible, including transactions in the bond market, stock market, real estate market and personal capital transactions – while another 14 areas are basically convertible, including credit operations, direct investment and the liquidation of direct investment.
BEIJING - China’s local fiscal revenue growth for January and February was “too fast” because of more property transactions, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, suggesting that the Chinese authorities are deeply concerned about surging property prices. China’s local fiscal revenue rose 12.9% in the first two months of 2013, while the national fiscal revenue grew only 7.2% during the same period. Car sales in January and February expanded by 14.7% y/y, while car industry output grew 14.1%, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
BEIJING – According to reports here, China’s current Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, is likely to be promoted to State Councillor for Foreign Affairs, China’s top diplomatic position. This would see a continuation of recent trends in foreign policy, including current policies towards Japan. The reports say Yang is likely to be replaced as Foreign Minister by Wang Yi, a former Ambassador to Japan.
SYDNEY - Australian managers are ill equipped for the Asian Century because they are working at only 70% of their capabilities, study by the Australian Institute of Management. "Our latest Australian Management Capability Index (AMCI 2013) shows managers across the economy underperform in key business areas," says incoming AIM National President, Brian Nye.
MANILA - International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has reported revenue for the year ended December 31 from port operations of US$729.3 million, 10% up from the previous year; Earnings before tax were US$307.4 million, up 9% and net income attributable to equity holders US$143.2 million, up 10%. ICTSI handled consolidated volume of 5,628,021 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the year, and increase of 8%.
MUMBAI - Citi India has acted as a Qualified Depository Participant, custodian as well as the execution broker for an investment made by Sanlam, one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups, through the Qualified Foreign
PERTH – Thiess has signed an AUD212 million contract to deliver further civil works for the Chevron-operated Gordon gas project in Western Australia. The prject is operated by the Australian subsidiary of Chevron (47.3%) in hoint venture with the Australian subsidiaries of ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1.0%) and Chubu Electric Power (0.417%). www.theiss.com.au (ATI).
SINGAPORE - Emerging Asia is experiencing its own two-speed economy, according to a quarterly research report by ANZ Bank. “The real sector is recovering only modestly - trade growth has lifted, as China and the US recoveries gain traction, but trade with Emerging Asia's largest trading partner, Europe, continues to contract,” the report says. “Meanwhile, the financial sector has seen strong inflows from the major economies over the last few months.
TOKYO - Japan's dominance as APAC's largest travel market has come to an end as an emerging China assumes the top spot, according to travel industry researcher PhoCusWright. Following over a decade of economic stagnation, Japan's recovery from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been sluggish, and the country's overall travel market growth will slow to 2% by 2015, according to a new PhoCusWright report (www.phocuswright.com/products/4248).
MANILA - The Philippines reported weak exports in January (-2.7% y/y; consensus: 6.0% y/y) on subdued demand for electronics, particularly from the US and China. Together with weak February export outturns in Korea and Taiwan, the data underscore uncertainty in the outlook for external demand even as the global economy appears to be improving (although China’s exports have showed surprising resilience).
TAIPEI - Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. plans to unveil its first phone-tablet hybrid handset at the Computex Taipei tech fair in June, hoping to gain traction in this fast-growing market. Acer Corporate President Jim Wong says the "phablet" category, which is defined by Acer as a mobile device larger than 5 inches that still can be held with a single hand, has become very popular among female and elderly consumers.
BANGKOK - Thailand's sovereign credit rating has been upgraded by Fitch by one notch to BBB+, bringing it in line with the ratings issued by S&P and Moody's. Fitch emphasised improved policy predictability and social stability (ATI).
MANILA - The ASEAN Economic Community will focus on financial integration as it moves towards the realisation of its goal by 2015, but it is not pursuing the creation of a single currency, according to Asian Development Bank economists. Ramesh Subramaniam, the ADB’s senior director at the Office of Regional Economic Integration (OREI), says cross-border asset holdings have been on the rise, and that "there is active engagement of the private sector through the ASEAN+3 Bond Market Initiative, for example”.