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January 18, 2013
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  • U.S. jobs, housing data point up
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    The latest numbers for weekly U.S. jobless-benefit applications and for housing starts were the best since 2008. The jobless data for last week point to continued slow improvement in employment, although January figures can be deceptive. The housing-starts figure, for December, was also an encouraging sign in a key segment that drives much of the rest of the economy, though much of the gain came from the volatile multifamily sector. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (1/17) , Reuters (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.S. Fed's "Beige Book" surveys a growing but still cautious economy
    Sustained gains in consumer spending across the U.S., recovery from last year's superstorm in the Northeast and a boost from holiday spending all point to a moderately growing economy, the Federal Reserve's latest "Beige Book" report says. However, the report notes tentativeness in the economy over continued budget squabbles in Washington, with some industries, notably in defense, holding off on hiring. The Hill (1/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japan faces confidence hurdle in turning around economy
    Political clout to restore confidence in Japan's economy and stimulate spending is seen as indispensable to round out actions already taken by the government with its 2012 supplementary budget and a goal of 2% inflation. One likely holdup, however, is the broad perception that a deflationary environment will persist. Meanwhile, the World Bank has nearly halved its growth outlook for Japan's economy to 0.8% this year, largely due to reduced exports to China. Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan) (1/17) , Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)/Jiji Press (Japan) (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Economists foresee a sluggish eurozone economy
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    No growth is likely in the eurozone economy in the current quarter as the French economy stalls and recovery in Italy is delayed, according to a survey of economists. For the year, regional economic shrinkage is pegged at 0.1%, improving slightly from last year's estimated 0.4% contraction. Bloomberg Businessweek (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • EU lawmaker looking for world's most hazardous financial products
    A member of the European Parliament is teaming with two nongovernmental groups to launch a competition to identify and, possibly, eliminate the world's most dangerous financial products before they can wreak havoc in the global economy. "Financial products can be dangerous in several ways. They might be intransparent for investors, investing in harmful technologies or products, causing systemic risks or are unnecessarily complex," said the lawmaker, Sven Giegold. The Business Times (Singapore) (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
    Strong U.S. economic indicators helped lift stocks Thursday in Europe and the U.S., with European shares getting an additional boost from retailers while corporate earnings reports in the U.S. were mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.46% to 287.35, the S&P 500 added 0.56% to 1,480.94, and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrials ended near a five-year high with a 0.63% gain to 13,596.02. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (1/18) , The Wall Street Journal (1/17) , CNNMoney (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian shares drift
    Asian shares were down modestly Thursday but mainly lacked direction ahead of new data releases in China and amid concerns over stock valuations and persistent uncertainties in Europe and the U.S. The Nikkei edged up 0.09% to 10,609.64, the Hang Seng slipped 0.07% to 23,339.76, the Kospi lost 0.16% to 1,974.27 and the S&P/ASX added 0.38% to 4,756.60. MarketWatch (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 

  • India's loosening of FDI for insurance hits a snag
    A proposal to raise to 49% India's limit on foreign direct investment in insurance stumbled in Parliament, failing to clear the Standing Committee on Finance. "The government is not discussing it with us. The insurance bill unfortunately is stuck on only one issue on whether FDI should be 26% or 49%. It is possible to have a way out," said committee member Yashwant Sinha. The Economic Times (India) (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Private forecasts for Taiwan growth brighten
    Improving prospects for regional trade and exports to the U.S. this year should lift Taiwan's GDP well beyond the 3.15% projected by the government, Moody's and HSBC both predict. Meanwhile, a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei reveals that foreign businesses plan to step up their local investments in 2013 despite an array of concerns, including a shortage of human resources and various snags encountered when dealing with government. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (1/17) , The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (1/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • A-share accounts in China drop by half, but QFII hits new high
    The total of 5.52 million A-share accounts opened last year in China was only about half the previous year's total as the market lagged behind others globally. The number marked a six-year low and was less than 10% of the record total recorded in 2007, according to figures from China Securities Depository and Clearing. However, China's new opening to qualified foreign institutional investors led to a historic high of 120 accounts in 2012. Caijing Magazine online (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China raises U.S. debt holdings for 2nd month
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    For the second straight month, China increased its holdings of U.S. debt in November, adding US$14.3 billion worth. For the first 11 months of 2012, China added a total of US$18.2 billion of U.S. debt. It is now the largest foreign holder of such debt at US$1.17 trillion, exceeding Japan's holding of US$1.13 trillion as of November. Caijing Magazine online (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Asia should benefit as West strangles on regulation, CIC official says
    Asia stands to benefit from increased investment as banks in Europe and elsewhere face new regulation that amounts to "anti-globalization," said Jesse Wang, deputy head of China's CIC sovereign wealth fund. In particular, Wang noted U.K. recommendations that banks separate their commercial and investment activities and, in the U.S., the Dodd-Frank Act, which he said interferes with Chinese institutional expansion. (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  • Switzerland's Pictet expands China team
    Noting "a lot of room to grow," Pictet & Cie's Asia head of wealth management, Claude Haberer, said the Swiss private bank's recent hire of three relationship managers is part of an expansion of its China team. "I am planning to grow the team out of both Hong Kong and Singapore," Haberer said, noting no plans for a mainland China presence. "We have a lot to do in Hong Kong and Singapore, and we have a few years to get busy," he said. (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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