Time to celebrate in Singapore, with the government reporting that economic growth in the second quarter was more than double that forecast.
The Financial Times says that GDP expanded from the prior quarter by 15.2% on an annualised basis, nearly double the 8.1% consensus forecast. “This is the best quarterly figure since Q3-2011.”
The FT says manufacturing rose steeply during the quarter, up 37.6% from the prior quarter, while services grew a healthy 9%. Growth was primarily supported by a robust recovery in the wholesale and retail trade sector, and the transportation and storage sector. The Singapore government said in its economic update that there had also been good growth in the biomedical manufacturing and electronics output.
Meanwhile the Lion City has further substantiated its bid to become the region’s financial hub with news that Swiss National Bank has opened a branch in Singapore, becoming the first non-Asian central bank with operations in the city-state as it seeks to better manage its portfolio of assets denominated in the region’s currencies.
The FT says the Swiss central bank set up in the city to better manage its portfolio of assets denominated in the region’s currencies. It plans to have an office of seven asset managers and traders, among other staff.
Singapore is a base for about 500 institutions in the asset management industry, with total assets under management of about USD$1 trillion, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Looking for new investment opportunities in Asian banking? Well, strong profit numbers expected from Thai banks could point you in that direction.
Asian Banking & Finance says that a new note from Nomura suggests that Thai banks could post a 17% year-on-year rise in 2013 profits, even though loan growth is expected to slow in 2013 before recovering in 2014.
Analysts think that Australia’s Reserve Bank will be motivated to cut interest rates in August after the latest batch of jobs numbers showed an increase in unemployment in June, despite employers hiring more staff than expected. The shortfall was caused by rising migration into the country, which has outpaced its ability to create new jobs.
The Business Recorder quotes Michael Turner, a strategist at RBC Capital Markets, saying that unemployment had been expected to rise. “Everybody’s been expecting unemployment to go up, and now it has. Everybody expects it to rise further, and it probably will. It’s not a green light for a rate cut in August, but it clears one barrier out of the way. It’s not an open or shut case, but the run of data is leaning that way.”
Diana Mousina, an economist at Commonwealth Bank, was also quoted, suggesting that the RBA would cut the interest rate next month. “The labour market is weakening, and we expect jobs growth will continue to be quite subdued over the remainder of the year.”
Private equity in India may have a tough 2013, with Bain Capital suggesting that lack of investment opportunities will result in a drop in activity this year.
Nikhil Raghavan, a principal at Bain in Mumbai, told the Wall Street Journal that few companies are looking for private funding as the economy slows down. He says buyout funds will probably allocate between USD$5 billion and USD$7 billion to private Indian companies this year, down significantly on last year’s USD$9 billion.
Buzzfeed.com says the latest YouGov’s BrandIndex reveals that consumer sentiments towards four of America’s biggest banks – Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley – has improved. The survey tracks US consumer opinion of brands through 5,000 interviews every weekday, adding up to 1.2 million interviews a year.
But the banks, which have been widely and vociferously reviled by the public for their roles in the global financial crisis, shouldn’t get too smug (again), because they are still underwater when it comes to the public’s general opinion of them.
All four still generated a net negative perception despite rising in the rankings, meaning that more YouGov interviewees reported hearing bad things than positive things, but less so than last year.
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