ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN Market Outlook
By Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.Overnight on Wall St The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index, which measures activity at factories in the mid-Atlantic region, was at minus 7.1 in August. Any reading below zero indicates a contraction in manufacturing in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
The report offers an early sign of the health of U.S. manufacturing. A national reading indicated the sector shrank in June and July.
Still, the Philadelphia Fed's report showed a smaller contraction in August than in July, which economists said took some of the edge off the bad news. Wall Street analysts were expecting a reading of minus 5.
The dollar hit a one-month high against the yen amid cooled expectations for further monetary easing by the Federal Reserve. U.S. stocks rose following comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel that appeared to back the European Central Bank's efforts to fight the euro zone debt crisis.
The festering crisis in Europe is a menace to U.S. manufacturers and already is weighing on the global economy. China said on Thursday the outlook for its exports has darkened.
Also looming over the economy, the government is on track to raise taxes and cut spending next year - a prospect that is already hurting business sentiment.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea are projected to be the world's richest economies on a per capita basis by 2050 as the region's rapid growth boosts wealth creation, a study showed.
The survey by property giant Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, reported in Singapore media Wednesday, also showed multi-millionaires in Asia will continue to outnumber those in North America and Western Europe by 2050.
Singapore topped the list in 2010 and is expected to keep the top spot in 2050, when the city-state's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita would reach US$137,710 (S$172,000).
It will be trailed by Hong Kong (US$116,639), Taiwan (US$114,093) and South Korea (US$107,752) with the United States coming in fifth place, falling from third place in 2010.
Singapore's 2010 GDP per capita stood at US$56,532, while Hong Kong (US$45,301) - the only other Asian economy in the top 10 that year - was in fourth place.
Taiwan and South Korea were not even in the top 10 in 2010.
The World Bank still has confidence that the Thai economy would grow by 4.5 per cent this year, as previously projected, the bank’s senior economist Kirida Paopichit said on Wednesday.
A major positive factor that would boost economic growth in the second half of the year was the full recovery in the industrial sector after it was severely hit by the great flood late last year, while, the impact of the eurozone debt crisis on the export sector was still minimal, she said.
Ms Kirida said the growth figure in the fourth quarter of the year would be much higher than the same period last year, when industry was hit by the devastating flood.
Foreign direct investment would continue to flow into Thailand because it is an attractive investment destination for foreign investors on the back of its strong economic fundamentals, she added.
However, the senior economist warned that the government should review its policy on trade and investment in the service sector.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced on Thursday evening the government’s target of 6.8 percent economic growth for 2013 and its decision to include a new factor in calculating the state budget.
In a speech on the 2013 state budget draft, the president said the government would factor gas lifting into the macroeconomic assumptions used to calculate the state budget, along with six other assumptions regularly used in the past.
Indonesia’s growth target of 6.8 percent for next year is higher than the target this year of between 6.3 percent and 6.5 percent. The target for last year was 6.5 percent.
The 2013 inflation rate is targeted at 4.9 percent, only slightly higher than this year’s target of 4.8 percent, while the three-month treasury bill (SPN) rate is expected to stand at 5 percent.
The rupiah is expected to reach an average of Rp 9,300 per dollar, with the price of oil at an average of $100 per barrel and oil lifting reaching 900,000 barrels per day.
“In addition to the six macroeconomic assumptions, starting with the 2013 state budget draft, the government will also use gas lifting as a basis for the calculation of state revenue from non-oil natural resources,” Yudhoyono said in front of members of the House of Representatives in Jakarta.
“In 2013, we assume that gas lifting will be at around 1.36 million barrels of oil equivalent per day,” he added.
Hong Kong unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent in May-July 2012, same as that in April-June 2012, Census and Statistics Department announced today. The underemployment rate, meanwhile, increased to 1.5 percent in May-July, from 1.4 percent in the three-month period ended June.
Total employment increased to 3.675 million in the period from 3.671 million in the period ended June. Labour force grew 7,300 to 3.804 million over the same period.
The number of unemployed rose 3,000 to 128,500.
"Thanks to the resilient performance of the domestic sector, the labour market held tight despite a tepid overall economic growth," said the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. "It is noteworthy that the recent private sector vacancy figures still demonstrate a generally positive hiring sentiment among employers."
Philippine exports grew by only 4.2 percent in June after a double-digit rebound in May. The National Statistics Office (NSO) on Friday reported that exports for the month reached $4.31 billion, with electronics shipments dipping 14.6 percent to $1.89 billion.Total exports in the first half of 2012 rose 7.7 percent to $26.75 billion from $24.85 billion in the same period last year.
Shipments to Japan, the country’s top exports market in June, decreased 24.7 percent after registering an annual gain of 81.5 percent the previous month due to downward adjustment in purchases. Exports to East Asia, the top export destination by economic bloc, fell 5.4 percent from a year earlier, after a 25.6-percent annual climb in May, and exports to Asean member-countries saw a 6.4-percent drop in June. Other top buyers of Philippine products in June were the United States with $674.21 million, and China with $534.63 million.
Yesterday in Asia
Tokyo rose 1.88 percent, or 167.72 points, to 9,092.76, Sydney climbed 1.14 percent, or 49.0 points, to 4,330.2 and Seoul closed flat, adding 0.95 points, to 1,957.91.
But Hong Kong gave up its morning gains and slipped 0.45 percent, or 89.34 points, to 19,962.95 while Shanghai shed 0.32 percent, or 6.75 points, to 2,112.20.
– Singapore was flat, edging up 0.78 points to 3,062.89. United Overseas Bank climbed 0.20 percent to Sg$20.20 and Singapore Airlines inched up 0.09 percent to Sg$10.94.
– Taipei rose 0.30 percent, or 22.47 points, to 7,490.21. Leading smartphone maker HTC added 2.67 percent to end at Tw$250.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.12 percent lower at Tw$82.9.
– Manila fell 0.90 percent, or 47.15 points, to 5,219.51. Metropolitan Bank and Trust slid 2.69 percent to 92.30 pesos, Ayala Corp. dropped 0.89 percent to 421.20 pesos, while its flagship Ayala Land ended 2.39 percent lower at 22.45 pesos.
– Wellington slipped 0.41 percent, or 14.99 points, 3,616.20. Fletcher Building closed down 0.92 percent at NZ$6.53 and Telecom was off 2.82 percent at NZ$2.76.
– Jakarta rose 0.45 percent, or 18.52 points, to 4,160.51. Telkom rose 6.0 percent to 9,800 rupiah, Bank Rakyat increased 0.7 percent to 7,150 rupiah and mining company Aneka Tambang jumped 1.65 percent to 1,230 rupiah.
– Kuala Lumpur fell 0.22 percent, or 3.69 points, to 1,650.09.
– Bangkok dipped 0.20 percent, or 2.43 points, to 1,224.40. Banpu dropped 3 percent to 452 baht, while SCC lost 1.45 percent to 339 baht.
– India’s Sensex index fell 0.40 percent or 70.99 points to 17,657.21. Private aluminium producer Hindalco fell 2.62 percent to 117 rupees while the largest private bank ICICI Bank slid 1.3 percent to 956.5.
Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Linda Johnson, Business Development Director - Private Client Group, Heffernan Capital Management
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