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February 15, 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • Japan's economic shrinkage extends into the 4th quarter
    Amid hopes for a quick turnaround in Japan with a new monetary and fiscal policy in place, GDP figures showed the nation's economy continued to contract in the fourth quarter, shrinking at an annual rate of 0.4% from the previous three months. In addition, third-quarter GDP was revised to a 3.8% decline from the previously estimated 3.5% drop. The latest quarterly pullback was the third straight, leaving Japan mired in recession. CNNMoney (2/13) , The Wall Street Journal (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Eurozone GDP declines more than expected in 2012's last 3 months
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    Widening the disconnection between eurozone financial markets and the real economy, regional GDP plunged an unexpected 0.6% in the fourth quarter from the third, with the two leading national economies -- Germany and France -- joining the peripheral nations in retreat. The latest pullback equates to a 2.3% annual rate of contraction. The European Central Bank has predicted the regional economy will pick up in the latter half of the year, but fiscal austerity measures and persistent unemployment may undermine that forecast. Reuters (2/14) , The Wall Street Journal (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Slide in exports leads to German GDP contraction in 4th quarter
    The German economy, the main engine of the eurozone, matched the region's fourth-quarter contraction of 0.6%. "Comparatively weak foreign trade was the decisive factor for the decline in the economic performance at the end of the year," the German Statistics Office said in a statement. Reuters (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. jobless claims decline
    Fewer Americans than expected applied for initial jobless benefits last week. But the 341,000 claims -- down from 368,000 a week before -- may have been due in part to severe winter weather in the Northeast and Illinois. CNNMoney (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Moody's lays out core criteria for U.S. debt rating
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    The national debt ratio and economic growth will be key factors as Moody's evaluates the U.S. credit rating in coming months, the ratings service says. However, the upcoming debt-limit issue will not be a "fundamental factor," Moody's said. Reuters (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • World's central bankers stepping aggressively to the fore
    If the new Bank of Japan governor adopts an aggressive policy complementing that of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he will be joining a new breed of central banker globally willing to do whatever it takes. Ben Bernanke at the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank and the incoming Mark Carney at the Bank of England all have records of aggressive action. Bloomberg (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
  • Asian stocks advance again
    Asian shares were generally up amid expectations that Japan may take even more aggressive action to revive its economy after a disappointing fourth quarter. The Nikkei rose 0.50% to 11,307.28, the Hang Seng was up 0.85% to 23,413.25, the Kospi edged up 0.18% to 1,979.61 and the S&P/ASX climbed 0.66% to 5,036.90. Bloomberg Businessweek (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 

  • U.S.-EU trade deal is seen as little threat to South Korea
    Noting that South Korea has separate trade agreements in place with the U.S. and EU, analysts say an anticipated accord between the U.S. and Europe should pose little threat to Korean exports. "Korean goods and services will be treated equally in the two markets. ... [But] Japan, which has fewer FTAs than Korea, is expected to step up trade talks with the EU and its other major trade partners," said professor Chung In-kyo of Inha University. The Korea Herald (Seoul) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Survey: Taiwan to gain as world economy improves
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    Taiwan's economy is well positioned to benefit as the global economy improves over the next few months, according to the World Economic Survey released by the Ifo Institute for Economic Research. "Most interviewees believe the situation will improve in the next six months," said the Council for Economic Planning and Development, which helped conduct the survey of economists in Taiwan. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (2/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Chinese investors flock to South Korean stocks
    As U.S. and U.K. investors exited the South Korean market last month, Chinese investors stepped in even as the market slumped, according to the Financial Supervisory Service. The US$664 million in net buying by Chinese investors from Jan. 1 to 13 amounted to a record on a monthly basis, the FSS said. (South Korea) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  • Foreign banks reduce dividends amid South Korean qualms
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    Amid South Korean regulatory concerns over major capital outflow to parent groups in the U.S. and U.K., several foreign banks operating in South Korea are scaling back divided payouts. Financial soundness of the banks locally is also a concern, with Standard Chartered Bank Korea and Citibank Korea among those mentioned by the Financial Supervisory Service. The Korea Herald (Seoul) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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