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ASEAN STOCK WATCH Asean Affairs  12 December 2012

ASEAN Market Preview

China's foreign trade during the January-to-November period expanded by 5.8 percent from a year earlier as exports increased by 7.3 percent and imports by 4.1 percent, yielding a trade surplus of $199.54 billion, the customs said.

The whole year of 2012 will see China's trade grow by 6 or 7 percent while the trade surplus will be between $220 billion and $230 billion, Wang said.

The government has targeted growth of 10 percent for foreign trade this year, a figure that officials have admitted will be hard to achieve.

Chen Hufei, a researcher at Bank of Communications Co Ltd, agreed, saying that the trade surplus this year will "significantly expand compared from a year earlier, and renminbi appreciation will be further pressed in the short term".

Wang said renminbi appreciation in November has eroded the competitive edge of Chinese exporters.

"It had been a tough year for all manufacturers that rely on exports, which have made much fewer orders with the decline in demand," said Zhang Beilei, owner of Wenzhou Gaotian Shoe Co Ltd.

China's exports in November rose at a much weaker-than-expected pace while imports remained unchanged compared with a year earlier, casting a shadow over the country's economic rebound, industrial production and retail sales figures suggested on Sunday.

Export growth in November slowed sharply to 2.9 percent year-on-year, compared with an 11.6 percent surge in October, while imports were flat compared with a year earlier, according to data from the General Administration of Customs on Monday.

In the USA

Obama and Boehner have exchanged opening proposals aimed at cutting deficits by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, but Republicans have repeatedly called for Obama to submit more spending cuts before talks can make progress.

"Where are the president's spending cuts? The longer the White House slow-walks this process the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff," Boehner said.

The biggest immediate conflict is over Obama's demand that tax rates rise for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Republicans want existing lower rates continued for all brackets and prefer to raise more revenue by eliminating tax loopholes and reducing deductions.

Republicans also want deeper spending cuts than those sought by Obama and fellow Democrats, particularly on social entitlement programs like the government-funded Medicare and Medicaid healthcare plans.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told MSNBC on Monday that Congress could resolve some of the issues by the December 31 deadline - among them the hikes in tax rates - but might have to leave others for the new Congress that takes office in January.

Singapore

TCC Assets, controlled by Thai beverage tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi said the closing date for the F&N offer had been extended to January 2 from December 11.

This is the second time TCC has been granted an extension after its plans to acquire F&N through a S$8.7 billion (US$7.12 billion) bid for the shares it does not yet own were stymied by Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE).

OUE, a property firm controlled by Indonesia's Lippo Group, offered S$13.1 billion in mid-November. Lippo's founder is Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady, and his son Stephen is OUE's executive chairman.

F&N, whose businesses range from property to soft drinks and publishing, is one of Singapore's oldest homegrown groups, tracing its origins to an aerated water business founded by two British entrepreneurs in 1883.

It became a takeover target after selling off its most prized asset, Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries, to Dutch giant Heineken in September.

OUE's offer for F&N was backed by Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, which holds about 14.8 per cent of F&N and is interested in its food and beverage business, with the property interests of F&N going to OUE if they succeed.

Thailand

The Ananda IPO that we said was too early has fallen on it's debut and has continued in that direction after market reopened yesterday, and the worst may not be over yet.

For the first nine months of this year, the company achieved revenue of 3.79 billion baht for a net loss of 314 million. In 2011, full-year revenue was 5.69 billion baht for a net loss of 317 million due to amortization costs.

At present, the company has retained losses of 220 million baht but expects to return into the black next year, as pre-sale bookings worth 13.5 billion baht will be realized in the next two years.

As a result the company values poorly

Malaysia

Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd has queried DSC Solutions Bhd over the recent sharp rise and volume of the shares.

The regulator had on Tuesday advised investors to take note of DSC's reply to the unusual market activity (UMA) query which would be posted on the website.

At midday, DSC was up 1.5 sen to 18 sen. It was the second most active with 18.45 million shares done.

The FBM KLCI was up 6.33 points to 1,638.48. Turnover was 454.62 million shares valued at RM644.69mil. There were 286 gainers, 246 losers and 286 counters unchanged.

Bursa Securities had queried whether there was any company-related corporate developments which had not been previously announced that might account for the (UMA) including those in the stage of negotiation/discussion.

It also asked the company if there was any rumour or report concerning the group's business and affairs that might account for the unusual market activity.

Philippines

 SM Group’s residential property arm, SM Development Corp., aims to sustain its growth momentum by expanding into medium-rise building development, increasing its nationwide footprint and making more inroads into overseas markets.

The overseas expansion entails not only the establishment of offices in markets with critical mass of prospective overseas Filipino home buyers but also investing in markets with good prospects for residential property development such as China and neighboring Southeast Asian countries, SMDC vice chairman and chief executive officer Henry Sy Jr. said in a briefing on Tuesday.

Sy said SMDC would also broaden its product offering by launching a new residential housing brand priced at P1 million to P1.5 million. This brand is focused on medium-rise buildings catering to families. The pilot project for this will be in Fairview, Quezon City.

Sy said SMDC had also boosted its landbanking and purchasing operations. For this year, P20 billion worth of land in prime locations were acquired. At present, SMDC has an estimated land inventory of 50 hectares in Metro Manila alone.

“These are all in prime locations,” Sy said, adding that SMDC would eventually “cover the whole Philippines.”

In the meantime, SMDC president and chief operating officer Rosaline Qua said the new brand that would soon be unveiled by SMDC would be located a bit farther from central business districts.

Since last year, Qua said SMDC had also started marketing to overseas Filipinos, leading to the growth of its share in this segment to 35 percent this year, from 15 to 18 percent in 2011.

Qua said a lot of the unrecognized revenues from previous sales would be realized in the fourth quarter this year. This will allow SMDC to post a 10-15 percent growth in both net profit and revenue for 2012. She added that the 10-15 percent top-line and bottom-line growth trajectory could be sustained in 2013.

She said demand for SMDC units remained very strong, which would likely allow SMDC to exceed its earlier announced reservation sales goal of P29 billion for the year. As of November, she said the level had already hit P30 billion.

The company has brought 9,400 new residential units to the property market so far this year. This is estimated to reach 14,000 this year.

Qua said at least three projects will be launched next year.

Indonesia

Bank Indonesia kept its policy interest rate unchanged at a record low 5.75 percent for a 10th consecutive month on Tuesday, citing inflation remaining within its targeted range.

While the central bank holding the benchmark rate was expected, it also refrained from raising its overnight Fasbi rate, defying expectations among some economists hoping that doing so would boost the rupiah.

“The rate is consistent with the current low and manageable inflation,” Dody Budi Waluyo, a Bank Indonesia spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday. Inflation eased to 4.3 percent in November, from 4.6 percent in October. Bank Indonesia forecast inflation at between 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent this year and next. It expects inflation to be below 4.5 percent for 2012.

The central bank said the rupiah had been moving in line with market conditions but with “decreasing depreciation intensity,” and so it left the Fasbi rate — an overnight deposit facility provided by Bank Indonesia for commercial banks to manage their liquidity — unchanged. The Fasbi rose by 25 basis points to 4 percent in August, to mitigate risk of an overheating economy.

The currency rose 0.1 percent to 9,648 to the US dollar on Tuesday, ending a decline since Dec. 4, when a report of a record trade deficit for October was released.

Euben Paracuelles, an economist at Nomura Singapore, said that by keeping the benchmark and Fasbi steady, Bank Indonesia showed it was seeking “to support credit growth in investment and working capital as this is seen as enhancing productive capacity and hence promoting non-inflationary growth.”

Gundy Cahyadi, an economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore, said the central bank would need to “normalize” monetary policy next year. He expects the central bank to raise its key interest rate to 6.25 percent in 2013, as inflation picks up due to strong demand and a possible fuel price increase.

Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Economist/Hedge Fund Manager

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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 

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