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||Asean Affairs 29 August 2012
ASEAN Market Outlook
By Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Bernanke is scheduled to address a conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and market participants are waiting to see whether he will announce new measures to boost growth. The Fed chairman is expected to feed expectations for a third round of quantitative easing, though he could keep markets guessing about the timing.
Expectations for more stimulus have risen along with signs of slowing global growth. Japan cut its assessment of its economic expansion, citing a deceleration in U.S. and Chinese demand for its exports.
U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly weakened in August to its lowest in nine months as Americans turned more pessimistic about the short-term outlook, according to the Conference Board.
But in another report, the S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas showed U.S. home prices rose for a fifth consecutive month.
Singapore’s economy is set to weaken this year on the back of weaker global demand and related international financial and trade strains emanating from the euro zone debt crisis, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.
“Under the benign global baseline scenario, growth is forecast to soften this year to just below 3 percent, with a moderate increase in 2013,” the IMF said in its annual review of Singapore’s economy. The IMF sees growth in Singapore rising to about 3.5 per cent next year.
The IMF said Singapore had ample policy room and other protective measures to deal with the effects of a slowing economy. The current account surplus is likely to narrow slightly to about 21 per cent of gross domestic product, the fund said.
It said inflation, which is currently at around 4.5 pe rcent, would likely remain under pressure and should be allowed to rise temporarily to accommodate price changes from tighter labor markets. Other sources of inflation, including from transport costs, credit growth and asset prices, should be “forcefully tackled,” the IMF added.
PTT, Thailand's largest company, has offered S$1.2 billion to gain full control of Singapore-listed Sakari Resources as it expands into coal to meet rising regional demand for the fuel, giving the target the biggest gain in almost six years.
State-controlled PTT, through its unit PTT Asia Pacific Mining, already owns nearly 51 per cent of Sakari, which listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2006.
Sakari has coal mines in the Indonesian provinces of East and South Kalimantan. It also has a 15.1-per-cent stake in Xanadu Mines, an Australian listed company with rights to mining concessions in Mongolia.
PTT's offer price of S$1.90 in cash for the shares it does not own represents a 27.5-per-cent premium to Sakari's last traded price on Friday.
Sakari's stock soared as much as 27.9 per cent to S$1.905 yesterday, before closing at S$1.895, up 40.5 cents or 27.2 per cent. It was the most actively-traded counter on the SGX, with nearly 107.7 million shares changing hands.
PTT Chief Financial Officer Surong Bulakul said yesterday: "We want coal to be one of our core businesses in the future."
PTT does not intend to maintain Sakari's listing status if it manages to gain at least 90 per cent of the firm.
The bid values Sakari at about S$2.2 billion, or about 8.8 times earnings before interest and tax, compared with an average of 17 times for 10 comparable deals collated by Bloomberg.
OCBC Investment Research analyst Carey Wong said: "Sakari's valuations are not demanding and PTT seems to want to diversify its resource base and income stream."
DMG analyst Joshua Low recommended that stakeholders accept the deal, noting that PTT's valuation appeared fair although not at a premium to peers.
KLCI index lost 0.57 points or 0.03% on Tuesday. The Finance Index fell 0.46% to 14777.99 points, the Properties Index dropped 0.41% to 1059.11 points and the Plantation Index down 0.01% to 8640.14 points. The market traded within a range of 3.42 points between an intra-day high of 1649.00 and a low of 1645.58 during the session.
Actively traded stocks include INGENS-WA, INGENS, ASUPREM, ASAAG, TAKASO, NICORP, NEXTNAT, DBE, DPS and TAKASO-WB. Trading volume decreased to 1210.79 mil shares worth RM1106.56 mil as compared to Monday’s 1238.67 mil shares worth RM1067.47 mil.
Leading Movers were GENTING (+7 sen to RM9.14), BAT (+130 sen to RM63.90), PETCHEM (+3 sen to RM6.53), PETGAS (+10 sen to RM19.52) and AXIATA (+1 sen to RM5.99). Lagging Movers were CIMB (-5 sen to RM7.83), TENAGA (-5 sen to RM6.82), MAYBANK (-3 sen to RM9.15), UMW (-16 sen to RM10.10) and HLBANK (-16 sen to RM13.50). Market breadth was negative with 276 gainers as compared to 460 losers.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is poised to soar to greater heights starting next year as it takes delivery of new planes—more than doubling the size of its current fleet.Even without the new planes, PAL president Ramon S. Ang said the company might post a modest profit for its current fiscal year that ends next March. “The company is already registering a profit,” Ang said at a press conference on Tuesday. He said the airline’s better performance was a result of “discipline,” leading to lower maintenance costs.
PAL’s parent firm PAL Holdings posted a P489.2-million profit in the April to June period of 2012, the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year. This was an improvement from the P475.1-million loss posted the year before. PAL also implemented a cost-cutting program last October that involved the outsourcing of 2,600 jobs to third-party providers. Ang declined to comment on whether the outsourcing program, which is still being questioned in court, contributed to the company’s return to profitability.
At the press conference, the airline disclosed details for its expansion program. The company signed a deal with European plane manufacturer Airbus for as many as 54 new planes in the first phase of a multiyear acquisition spree. The deal is worth $7 billion, based on published list prices for the planes. Ang, who is also president of San Miguel Corp., said the company was still in negotiations to buy 46 more aircraft to bring its total plane purchases to 100.
The Indonesian government has allocated $20 billion for infrastructure development next year to boost national economic growth, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday.
“The fund will be focused on the energy and transportation sectors,” Yudhoyono said in his speech at the opening of the Asia-Pacific Minister and Governor Conference on Sustainable and Inclusive Infrastructure Development in Jakarta.
Regarding the transportation sector, the government said they hope to extend the length of current national roads by 4,278 kilometers. The government also plans to build over 500 kilometers of new roads, 380 kilometers of railways, as well as some 15 additional airports.
Yudhoyono said he considers infrastructure development as both “important and strategic” because it has the potential to create a multiplier effect that could strengthen national economic growth by improving people’s mobility, connectivity and economic activities.
“Infrastructure development at the end will open new job fields and facilitate industrial sector growth and small and medium enterprises that are the backbone of Indonesian economic resilience.”
Addressing the difficulty of bolstering infrastructure in an archipelago, Yudhoyono said there will be two centers of development: Building an international port in Kuala Tanjung, Sumatra for Western Indonesia, and an international port in Bitung, Sulawesi for Eastern Indonesia. Both locations are majors shipping hubs.
“I’m sure this strategy could . . . support the development of economic centers outside Java island,” Yudhoyono said.
Yesterday in Asia
Tokyo fell 0.57 percent, or 52.10 points, to 9,033.29, weighed down by a strong yen and a bleak government report, which cut its view on the economy for the first time in 10 months amid slow exports and consumer spending.
Seoul edged down 0.08 percent, or 1.54 points, to 1,916.33, with shares in Samsung Electronics rebounding 1.27 percent following a plunge on Monday after a US court fined the firm $1.05 billion for breaching Apple’s patents.
Sydney gained 0.36 percent, or 15.7 points, to 4,359.4, while Hong Kong was flat, edging up 0.07 percent, or 13.13 points, to 19,811.80.
– Taipei fell 1.42 percent, or 106.28 points, to 7,361.94.
Hon Hai Precision shed 3.77 percent to Tw$84.2 while Acer was 1.32 percent lower at Tw$26.1.
– Wellington rose 0.16 percent, or 5.82 points, to 3,629.05.
Telecom Corp. rose 0.62 percent to NZ$2.43.
– Manila rose 0.63 percent, or 32.27 points, to 5,175.62.
Alliance Global Group Inc. rose 4.09 percent to 11.72 pesos and Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 0.81 percent to 93.55 pesos.
– Singapore closed down 0.15 percent, or 4.42 points, to 3,040.07.
Singapore Airlines gained 0.56 percent to Sg$10.80 and Sembcorp Industries added 0.55 percent to Sg$5.49.
– Kuala Lumpur stocks fell 0.06 percent, 1.02 points, to close at 1,647.11.
Hong Leong Bank lost 1.2 percent to 13.50 ringgit, Tenaga Nasional shed 0.7 percent to 6.82 while AirAsia gained 0.6 percent to 3.55 ringgit.
– Jakarta fell 0.07 percent, or 3.03 points, to 4,142.85.
Coal company Bumi Resources fell 15 percent to 760 rupiah, heavyweight Telkom slid 1.6 percent to 9,300 rupiah and mining company Aneka Tambang fell 0.78 percent to 1,270 rupiah.
– Bangkok fell 0.05 percent, or 0.57 points, to 1,233.16.
Power giant EGCO rose 1.73 percent to 117.50 baht while Siam City Cement lost 2.31 percent to 338 baht.
– Mumbai fell 0.27 percent or 47.10 points to 17,631.71.
Sterlite Industries, the local arm of global resources group Vedanta, fell 5.13 percent to 104.5 rupees while private steel producer Jindal Steel slid 4.88 percent to 358.75.
Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Linda Johnson, Business Development Director - Private Client Group, Heffernan Capital Management
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Bharat Building Singapore 048617
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