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January 30, 2013
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  • U.S. consumer confidence plunges; housing prices rise
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    U.S. consumer confidence this month reached its lowest ebb since November 2011, with January's Conference Board index registering 58.6, down from 66.7 in December. The rise in the payroll tax that took effect at the beginning of the year "has undoubtedly dampened consumers' spirits, and it may take a while for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock," said Conference Board economist Lynn Franco. In a positive sign, however, U.S. housing prices rose in November as inventories shrank. National Public Radio (1/29) , Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Bank of Japan says asset purchases could increase
    The Bank of Japan sees further scope for increasing asset purchases to boost the nation's economy beyond the ¥13 trillion a month it committed to beginning in 2014, according to minutes of last week's policy meeting. "From 2014, purchases will increase again. We'll examine the situation every month, so it's possible for purchases to increase further still," bank Governor Masaaki Shirakawa is quoted as saying. Reuters (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Morgan Stanley analyst pairs Japanese stimulus, market spikes
    Japan's periodic boosts in stimulative fiscal spending over the past 20 years have reliably produced market rallies, notes Morgan Stanley analyst Gerard Minack. Citing a chart of advances in the Nikkei preceded by spikes in government outlays, Minack says "it seems fair to say that fiscal policy has been more effective than many had expected through the current cycle." Business Insider (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.S., RBS tussle over criminal charges
    U.S. authorities are seeking a guilty plea from a unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland in connection with an overall settlement over Libor rigging, sources say. However, RBS is reported reluctant to accept the plea-agreement offer. The Wall Street Journal (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
    A reported rise in U.S. housing prices helped lift stocks Tuesday in Europe and the U.S., with European shares getting an additional boost from corporate earnings reports while U.S. gains were tempered by a lower reading for consumer confidence. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.32% to 290.30, and the S&P 500 was up 0.51% at 1,507.84. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (1/30) , Bloomberg Businessweek (1/29) , CNNMoney (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian shares advance
    Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday, with bank shares lifting Japan's Nikkei to a solid gain but another bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, weighing on the market in Hong Kong as Goldman Sachs sold a large block of shares. The Nikkei rose 0.39% to 10,866.72, the Hang Seng edged down 0.07% to 23,655.17, the Kospi added 0.84% to 1,955.96 and the S&P/ASX jumped 1.11% to 4,889.00. MarketWatch (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • Chinese banks' assets, liabilities rise
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    Total assets held by Chinese banks rose 17.7% in 2012 to 131.27 trillion yuan while liabilities were up 17.5% to 122.63 trillion yuan, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Separately, Wang Yanxiu, head of the CBRC's novel-products department, warned banks of risks inherent in their popular wealth-management products, noting the commission will be carrying out checks of the products this year. (China) (1/29) , (China) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Capital inflows are key in dealing with India's current-account gap
    India's capital inflows have proved to be a useful tool in helping to counter the nation's persistently high current-account deficit, although it's important to encourage the right kind of inflow, said C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council. "Let us not make a demon out of capital flows. Capital flows have been useful and have contributed to the strengthening of the economy," Rangarajan said. The Economic Times (India) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • South Korean industrial sentiment improves
    Although sentiment remains well within the negative range, South Korean manufacturers' confidence has improved to a reading of 72 from 70 a month ago, while the index for non-manufacturers has bumped up to 70 from 68, the Bank of Korea reported. "Although timid, recovery is taking place. The pace of global economic recovery is also an uncertainty," said Oh Suk Tae, a Seoul-based economist at Standard Chartered Bank Korea. Bloomberg Businessweek (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • South Korean importers want government action as yen slides
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    Adding to evidence of turmoil stirred by Japan's aggressive monetary easing policy, the Korea Importers Association is lobbying the government to take action. "Yen's steep depreciation could prove useful for domestic prices and some companies to boost their competitiveness over a short term. But it is more crucial to bring the disrupted trade to order and help companies engage in management based on a stable outlook in a mid- to long-term," the association said in a statement. (South Korea) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Australian business turns optimistic
    Business confidence in Australia switched to positive in December from negative the month before with a lift from an interest-rate cut and a more positive outlook for the Chinese economy, according to the latest survey by National Australia Bank. The business-conditions index also improved but remained negative at minus 4 in a soft domestic climate. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Taiwan consumer confidence edges up after long decline
    Consumer confidence in Taiwan has begun to pick up after four straight months of decline. "Overall, consumer confidence may continue to recover over the rest of the year, given that major research institutes have forecast that national GDP would grow more than 3%, or even 4%, this year," said Dachrahn Wu, director of National Central University's Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which carried out the consumer survey. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Philippine 2012 growth is expected to surprise on the upside
    The Philippines probably exceeded the top end of the 5%-to-6% growth target for 2012 set by the government, President Benigno S.C. Aquino III said ahead of the official figures due today. For this year, however, the government says it will maintain its growth projection of 6% to 7%, citing lingering uncertainties in the global economy. Business World (Philippines) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Qianhai loans test wider use of yuan
    Fifteen lenders, including HSBC Holdings and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia), have taken advantage of the Qianhai area in Shenzhen to test a freer yuan, signing agreements to extend about 2 billion yuan of cross-border loans to companies in Qianhai. The district has been set up as a sort of "mini-Hong Kong" to test freer yuan use and capital account convertibility before the currency takes on a wider global role. China Daily (Beijing) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  • Goldman reportedly sells part of ICBC stake
    As expected, Goldman Sachs has reduced its stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, raising US$1 billion in the process, sources say. It was the biggest share sale so far this year in Asia and reduced Goldman's ICBC stake to less than 5%. Caijing Magazine online (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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