ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN Markets to Open Lower
By Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.The S&P 500 last week capped its longest stretch of weekly gains since January 2011 as economic reports beat forecasts and Germany backed the ECB’s bond-buying plan. Trading volume and volatility have dropped this month as vacationing traders awaited policy clues from the Federal Reserve’s summit at the end of the month and an ECB meeting in September.
Reports in the U.S. this week will show that combined purchases of new and existing houses increased to a 4.89 million annual rate in July from a 4.72 million pace in June, according to the median forecasts in surveys of economists before releases from the National Association of Realtors on Aug. 22 and the Commerce Department the next day. Bookings for long-lasting goods may have climbed the most this year, a release from the Commerce Department will show Aug. 24, according to the median estimate.
Gross domestic product is forecast to expand 5.5 percent to 6 percent, compared with a previous growth range of 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said in Bangkok today. It reduced the forecast for export growth to 7.3 percent from 15.1 percent on concern Europe’s crisis will damp demand, he said.
Today’s report showed GDP increased 4.2 percent in the three months through June from a year earlier, after expanding a revised 0.4 percent in the previous quarter, the government agency said. That exceeded all 16 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey that had a median prediction of a 3.1 percent rise.
The Bank of Thailand kept its policy rate at 3 percent for a fourth meeting last month, and cut its expansion forecast for the year to 5.7 percent from 6 percent. It reduced its export growth estimate to 7 percent from 8.3 percent and said inflation will be 2.9 percent from an earlier prediction of 3.3 percent.
Strong economic growth could lift Myanmar to the rank of middle income nation by 2030 if the formerly army-ruled country overcomes a host of reform challenges, the Asian Development Bank said Monday.
Myanmar’s gross domestic product (GDP) has the potential to expand at an annual pace of 7.0-8.0 percent, while per capita income could triple over the next 18 years, the Manila-based multilateral lender said.
It called for greater investment in infrastructure, education, health and social services to put the country on a sustainable recovery path.
ADB Vice President Stephen Groff said there was “really quite strong potential for growth” in Myanmar.
In order to realize its potential, there needs to be a continuous strong commitment to reform,” he added.
Yesterday in Asia
The Nikkei ended flat, gaining 0.09 percent as late profit-taking offset early gains, to 9,171.16. Sydney eased 0.13 percent, or 5.8 points, to close at 4,364.3, while Seoul ended flat at 1,946.31.
Hong Kong stocks ended flat, edging down 0.06 percent, or 11.8 points, to 20,104.27, while Shanghai closed 0.37 percent, or 7.93 points, lower at 2,106.96.
– Wellington rose 0.59 percent, or 21.43 points, to 3.661.09.
Fletcher Building was up 0.31 percent to NZ$6.57, while Air New Zealand gained 1.1 percent to NZ$0.935.
– Taipei fell 0.48 percent, or 36.01 points, to 7,431.91.
Leading smartphone maker HTC shed 4.20 percent to Tw$239.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. was 0.49 percent higher at Tw$82.4.
– Bangkok added 0.42 percent, or 5.09 points, to 1,229.00.
Coal producer Banpu gained 2.20 percent to 464 baht, while grocery store operator Siam Makro rose 2.99 percent to 345 baht.
– Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Singapore and Manila were closed for public holidays.
Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Linda Johnson, Business Development Director - Private Client Group, Heffernan Capital Management
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