Posts Tagged ‘economy’

The market reopened this week with the Hang Seng Index 1.6% higher than it was before the holiday. The Nikkei Stock Average also climbed 1.4% in Tokyo, reaching one of its highest levels in over five years.

The increases may be the result of a record finish for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 as U.S. economic data looks up.

“The share-market rally across the world is putting the ‘don’t chase a rally’ adage to the test, as bourses continue to record territory,” said Matthew Sherwood of Perpetual. “Quality is essential in this market, as prices are distorted, and the foundations aren’t strong.”

Akira Amari, Economy Minister of Japan, has stated that further weakness in the yen may be harmful. As a result, the local currency is rising.

“Japan’s turbo-charged stimulus measures have helped contribute to a solid gross domestic product growth outcome in the first quarter and to the rally in risk assets, but much needs to be done in terms of reforms to help sustain growth,” explained Credit Agricole’s Mitul Kotecha.

 

As the threat of global economic fallout looms nearer, Asian and European leaders meet to discuss their options.

The meetings, which began in Bangkok this week, come as Asia’s economies begin to buckle under strains from the European debt crisis. Previously viewed as the strong points in a global crisis, the region’s concerns are deepening.

“With the ongoing economic difficulties of some countries in the Eurozone, I believe that our cooperation is even more crucial than ever,” said Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the Thai Finance Minister.

“Because Asia and Europe are closely knitted in terms of international trade and investment, one spark of crisis could cause turmoil in the other side of the world,” he continued.

Europe is dealing with internal arguments as well, amid talks of whether austerity or pro-growth measures will solve the region’s problems. According to a statement from Host Thailand, officials “expect that the European economy will gradually recover from the current crisis.”

Many agreed that the only solution demands that Europe pursue “growth-friendly fiscal consolidation as well as growth enhanced policies and further structural reforms. Ministers stressed the role of emerging economies in the global effort by further strengthening private consumption and implementing structural reforms to help boost domestic demand and growth.”

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda recently visited Beijing to meet with China’s leaders. The two governments revealed a surprising plan to use their own currencies in bilateral trade, instead of in U.S. dollars, as part of an effort to strengthen financial ties between the two economic giants. The pledges came as a shock; the countries are competitively the second and third largest economies in the world. They also struggle with political issues regarding territory and other disagreements.

The East Asian countries also agreed to encourage the sale of bonds denominated in China’s yuan by foreign markets, Japanese companies as well as the Japan Bank of International Cooperation in China’s markets. Until now, these markets have been mostly closed to investors from outside.

“To support the growing economic and financial ties between China and Japan, the leaders of China and Japan have agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in financial markets of both countries and encourage fiscal transactions between the two countries,” the governments said.

East Asia is the fastest-growing region in the world today. This recent development is likely to significantly reduce the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the area.

Record-breaking Black Friday sales in the United States have sent the MSCI Asia Pacific Index towards its biggest gain in two weeks. This is great news for exporters, and commodity pool operators.

The results of the Black Friday sales proved, according to Naoki Fujiwara of Shinkin Asset Management, that the U.S. is “in a mild recovery, and consumer’s purchasing power isn’t something to be pessimistic about. But with employment looking bleak, it’s uncertain whether the strong spending will continue.”

Alumina Ltd. increased 6.4% in Sydney, and Japan’s top energy explorer Inpex Corp jumped 3.8%. Hong Kong’s Li & Fung, a clothing and toy supplier with 65% of its sales based in the U.S., rose 8.8% as well.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.6%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 increased 1.9%, too. South Korea’s Kospi Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both rose as well.

Asian stocks have dropped, deepening the hole of the regional benchmark index’s biggest quarterly deterioration in over two years.

Sony Corp fell 6.2% in Tokyo, reaching its lowest price in 24 years, while Toyota Motor Corp, the largest carmaker in the world, fell 2% as well. Building materials, suppliers and mining companies have also seen significant losses.

“The U.S. is not falling into recession, but it’s definitely slowing down,” said Diane Lin of Pengana Capital in Sydney. “We might face more risks, particularly in a market that hasn’t had enough of a correction.”

In Tokyo, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 2.8%, hitting 109.99., just before the meeting with the EU finance ministers. Nearly seven stocks fell for each that rose in the measure, and every one of the ten industry groups weakened.

The world’s concern increases as the gauge drops more than 20%, the European debt crisis worsens and the U.S. economic growth recedes.

Chinese NZ Investment

New Zealand is becoming an increasingly more attractive to investors. This has been especially evident in China which has been purchasing more NZ bonds than ever. Recent reports show that investments from China could amount to $6b which will have an impact on the kiwi dollar that could increase to 81 cents (which would be a three year peak) “against the greenback.” According to Craigs Investment Partners market analyst Peter McIntyre, “there have been reports that the Chinese foreign exchange reserves are looking to diversify around about 1.5 percent of their assets into New Zealand denominated assets like government bonds, companies and dairy farms.”

Nice New Zealand

That is one way of describing the country. Nice. New Zealand is definitely “nice” for investors since in terms of financial security, it is very stable. There is also a “high domestic inflation rate” with large returns too. It seems to be the whole region is finding New Zealand attractive, most notably Singapore and Hong Kong which are looking into government bonds.

These changes have been happening for a few years now. Countries in Asia are boasting “very large reserves.” There is likely to be additional investments ahead too. China will see an increase in investment from BUD, the Brazilian-Belgium owned Anheuser-Busch InBev and intends to establish a “brewery to make Budweiser in the mainland by the third quarter,” according to Carlos Brito, CEO of the company. The intention is to put in “several hundred million dollars this year.”

Better Beer

The three “top-priority markets” set to “drive the volume growth of the global beer industry,” are: Brazil, China and the USA. Indeed, China alone drinks around 30 liters of beer per annum, rendering it “responsible for around 25 percent of global beer consumption.” Just last week the first brewery was launched by AB InBev in Sichuan, a southwest China province, which according to the company’s Asia Pacific president Miguel Patricio, “aims to better serve the 200 million consumers in the region.” So if you happen to be visiting the Great Wall, consider quenching your thirst with a barrel of beer.

Indonesia and Malaysia Join Forces

There have been substantial efforts made to encourage companies from Indonesia to make investments in Malaysia which, has also resulted in a re-balance of “bilateral investment between the two friendly neighbors.” According to Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (International Trade and Industry Minister for Malaysia), various companies from Indonesia have been discussion four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with four companies in Malaysia for possible investment opportunities there. He pointed out that once negotiations are completed, there will be a signing ceremony in Malaysia.

Business Summit

The Asean-EU Business Summit takes place today along with the Asean Economic Ministers’ Meeting, which Mustapa is attending. He is using these meetings to meet up with various figures in the Indonesian corporate world who are involved in these possible investments.

Origins of Success

The way it all started was when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy PM of Malaysia, came to Indonesia and met with industry “captains” in the industry a year ago. This was what led to such an optimistic response from investors in Indonesia. This led to Malaysian companies inviting “Indonesian Chinese corporate figures from the Indonesian Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry to Malaysia in February to explore investment prospects in Malaysia particularly in projects slated under the Economic Transformation Program.”

The good news for Indonesia is that the economy has grown so fast. But this has resulted in the country’s businessmen looking for investment possibilities outside of the republic. Now Malaysia has invited Indonesians to use its country “as the platform to set a basin foreign investment.” These days Malaysia is definitely doing better vis-à-vis investments between the two countries as trade is up to over $2bn and Indonesia’s is $600m in Malaysia.

Turkey Makes Strides in Africa

Abdullah Gal, the President of Turkey, was said to have had a “fruitful” visit to Africa vis-à-vis his country’s political, economic and military strategy. “I am glad to learn that our companies interested in mining have made significant pre-agreements during this visit,” he said. He met with President John Evans Atta Mils (of Ghana); Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), marking the first time a Turkish president has formally made such a visit.

Syria Set to Spoil Turkey’s Economic Advances?

News in Syria impacting Turkey is that there has been disturbance between anti-government protesters and security forces, resulting in at least 15 dead from two days ago, which is likely to impact more than a $1 billion in Turkish investments around the country. So far it appears that these events haven’t yet affected business life, but it is still early days.

Good news is potentially on the horizon for Azerbaijan.  According to experts the country looks set to move from a “stable” to a “positive” status suggesting the country will become “an investment-grade territory” in the very near future.  This is within the backdrop of the country showing general improvements vis-à-vis the government’s fiscal and external positions.  This has been most noted in the country’s acquisition of State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan’s assets.

<h3>Other Great Economic Stats</h3>

Simultaneous to this good financial news for the country is the fact that its government “registered a fiscal surplus of 14 percent of GDP in its consolidated budget,” a substantial change from its figure in 2010 of 30 percent.  Further, the government has been  making investments in other (non-oil based) sectors which are likewise starting to reap benefits with a 7.9 percent jump last year, more than double of the figure for the year before.

<h3>Need for Economic Freedom</h3>

While this of course is all great news for Azerbaijan, the country is still a long way from becoming a true global economic player.  Before that has even a hope of happening, the country  will be forced to engage in some major renovations and liberations of its economic structure.  Further the country’s securities need to be worked on which will take some efforts from its PashaBank vis-à-vis a portfolio diversification.  Because it plans on joining the overseas capital markets, there is an expected 5-y percent worth of profits from operations with securities this year.  Currently the bank’s investment portfolio stands at 31 percent of securities assets (bonds, etc.).  Experts have noted that the country needs to make it a priority to show its interest in “investing in sovereign bonds of foreign countries….particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Central Europe.”

Financial things are a-changing in Azerbaijan, that’s for sure.  But it’s going to take time.  There are a lot of economic factors that are beginning to work well in the country but its deeper political issues (i.e. the required infrastructure reform) is still a subject with which to contend.


Following Japan’s “monstrous earthquake” (the largest in the region for over 1,200 years; seventh largest ever in the world), the country’s Fukushima power plant failed which has led to “fears of serious accident.”  But experts have said that there isn’t a risk to human health from the low radiation.  The crisis in Japan is no doubt escalating following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami ; a situation which isn’t being helped by the failure of another emergency cooling system at a different reactor.


Energy Fuels Japan’s Economy


Energy has always been a major source of economic sustenance for all countries.  But for Japan it is even more the case.  This is for the following reasons:  less than  half a percent of Japan’s crude oil supply is accrued from domestic sources; the country has to import more than 80 percent of all its major energy needs;  and added to this fact is the issue that Japan is home to very few domestic sources of uranium, natural gas or coal.  In spite of this, the country has managed to develop its economy into the second largest in the world.  It has managed to decrease its dependability on crude oil since the oil crises’ in the 1970s by instead using a mixture of energy resources, one of these being nuclear power.


Which Way Forward Following Tsunami


So the question that will be asked when things start to calm down a little in Japan, is what is the way forward for Japan’s economy following the impact of the tsunami and the failed Fukushima Power Plant.  It would be doubly devastating if the incredible work that has been done on bringing Japan to the forefront of global economic success were to be undone because of this crisis. Only time will tell what direction the country – and especially the economy – will be taking.