Wednesday, May 23, 2012

20120523 1109 Local & Global Economy Related News.

GDP growth for 1Q12, which will be announced today, is expected to be around 4-5%, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. Data collected over several months also suggest positive results for 2Q12, he said. However, he said, the current economic crisis in Europe was a bit worrying and could have an impact on Malaysia’s economic growth. (Bernama)

Malaysia will find it “very tough” to meet its initial 6-7% GDP growth target this year as top trade partners for its export-oriented economy continue to struggle, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah said yesterday. The government would instead focus on the central bank’s revised target of 4-5%, which is lower than the growth of 7.2% in 2010 and 5.1% in 2011, he said. He also said that China’s growth suddenly cooling amid stuttering recovery in the US and the persistent euro-zone crisis will affect Malaysia’s trade but the quantum is not yet known. He added that projections for 2012 had already factored in the possibility of a Greek default which will send shockwaves throughout Europe. Besides that, he has called for a study on the impact of the eurozone debt crisis on Malaysia's GDP. He said there is a need to review current global developments. (Malaysian Insider, Bernama)

Japan: April exports rise less-than-forecast 7.9% on year earlier
Japan’s exports rose a less-than-estimated 7.9% in April from a year earlier, underscoring the risk that weakness in global demand may limit the rebound in the world’s third-biggest economy. Imports gained 8%, leaving a trade deficit of JPY520.3bn (USD6.5bn), the finance ministry said. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 analysts was for exports to increase 11.8%. (Bloomberg)

Japan’s supermarket sales fell 1.9% yoy in Apr (-2.4% in Mar). (Bloomberg)

Japan’s investments abroad grew 3.3% to ¥582tr in 2011, the second-highest level on record and the third year of increase as companies used the strong yen to make acquisitions abroad, the Finance Ministry said. (Bloomberg)

Fitch Ratings downgraded Japan two notches to A+ and issued a negative outlook on the country's credit rating, citing rising public debt levels. Japan's long-term foreign rating had stood at AA and its local currency issuer default rating was previously at AA-. (Business Insider)

China’s Conference Board leading index rose 0.8% mom to 232.4 in Apr (0.8% in Mar; 1.0% in Feb), with four of the six components contributing positively to the index. (RTTNews)

China will fast track approvals for infrastructure investment to combat a slowdown in the economy, state-backed newspaper China Securities Journal reported. (Reuters)

China: Leading economic index rose 0.8% in April, same as March
A leading index for China rose at the same pace in April as the prior month, offering investors some comfort that the world’s second-biggest economy may avoid a deeper slowdown. The gauge increased 0.8% from March to 232.4, the New York-based Conference Board said, citing a preliminary reading. That compares with a 0.8% gain in March and 1% in February. (Bloomberg)

India's government needs to make tough decisions on spending and tax generation to boost foreign and local investment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. (WSJ)

The Reserve Bank of India will have limited room to relax its tight monetary stance and boost a slowing economy as inflation remains generalised and above its comfort level, according to the OECD. (WSJ)

South Korea is seeking an exemption from a European Union embargo that would effectively halt shipments of Iranian oil to South Korea from 1 Jul, officials said. (AFP)

Deposit interest rates offered by Vietnamese commercial banks are likely to come down to between 9 and 10% per annum by the year end, says State Bank of Viet Nam governor Nguyen Van Binh. (Vietnam News)

FDI is still flowing into Thailand even though foreign investors had turned from Thai shares to long-term bonds to limit investment risks, Bank of Thailand assistant governor Pongpen Ruengvirayudh said. The BoT’s Office of Macroeconomics director Songtham Pinto added that the Thai economy is thriving beyond expectation, citing domestic demand as a major drive to the growth. (Bangkok Post)

Indonesia's domestic cement sales rose 12% yoy in Apr (16.2% in Mar) to4.2m tons. (Reuters)

Taiwan: Jobless rate unexpectedly climbed as economy eased
Taiwan’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose in April as China’s growth slowdown and Europe’s debt woes hurt hiring by the island’s manufacturers. The seasonally adjusted rate rose to 4.19% from 4.14% in March, the statistics bureau said. That compares with the 4.13% median estimate of nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg)

Australia: Jobless rate to reach highest since 2009, OECD says
Australia’s unemployment rate will rise to the highest level since 2009 as industries outside of mining struggle with an elevated currency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. The nation’s jobless rate will climb to 5.7% in 2013 from 5.4% this year, the OECD said in its economic outlook released. That would match a level reached in September 2009 and is higher than the average in the past decade of 5.2%. (Bloomberg)

Greece's former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned that Greeks have no choice but to stick with a painful austerity program dictated by its lenders or face an exit from the euro zone that would devastate the economy, boost inflation and generate new social strains. (WSJ)

Greece would remain in the eurozone if the radical left were to win upcoming elections, Greek anti-austerity leftist leader Alexis Tsipras said. (AFP)

Eurozone consumer confidence rose to -19.3 in May (a revised -19.9 in Apr), according to the European Commission’s flash estimate. In the wider European Union, consumer sentiment improved to -19.4 from -20.2. (Reuters)

The ECB should cut interest rates further and the EU take bloc-wide measures to boost growth and ease the fiscal adjustment in the eurozone where crisis risks are intensifying, the OECD said, adding that the ECB may need to intervene again to stabilize banks and government bond markets. (AFP)

Youth joblessness is almost back at its peak following the outbreak of the global economic crisis and is unlikely to ease until at least 2016, the International Labour Organization warned. Nearly 75m youths or 12.7% of people aged 15 to 24 will be out of work this year, up from 12.6% in 2011. (AFP)

US: Existing home sales rise as market stabilizes
Sales of existing US homes rose in April, driven by broad-based gains in demand that signal the market is stabilizing. Purchases, tabulated when a contract closes, increased 3.4% to a 4.62m annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. The median price jumped by the most in six years. (Bloomberg)

The US ICSC-Goldman Store Sales index fell 1.7% wow in the week ended 19 May (-0.8% in the prior week), whilst on a yoy basis, the measure rose 3.8% (4.5% in the earlier week). (Bloomberg)

Directors at the US Federal Reserve’s regional banks saw a pickup in the pace of economic growth last month as housing, motor vehicle sales and consumer spending gained strength. (Bloomberg)

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