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March 13, 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • India's industrial output remains subdued despite January gain
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    India's industrial output remained low in January despite a 2.4% rise in activity. The anemic growth exceeded expectations but is still expected to put further pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates. "With 50% of manufacturing sectors registering negative growth, any sustained growth remains elusive in the sector in the immediate future," observed Naina Lal Kidwai, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Wall Street Journal (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • World Bank chief sees India returning to 6%-plus growth
    India's growth rate can return to 6% or so in the coming fiscal year and accelerate from there, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim predicted after talks with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. "Growth rate of 5% here is one that has been somewhat disappointing, but we are very encouraged by what has happened and what will happen, and we think India will get back to higher levels of growth. ... As export market starts doing better, we think India will do better as well," Kim said. The Hindu (India) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Manufacturing slide stokes U.K. recession fears
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    A decline of 1.5% in U.K. manufacturing in January contributed to an overall drop of 1.2% in industrial output and raised the prospect of the U.K. sliding into its third recession in just over four years. Negative growth in the first quarter would follow a 0.3% contraction in the fourth quarter and increase the likelihood of further quantitative easing this spring by the Bank of England. The Independent (London) (tiered subscription model) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Bundesbank chief says eurozone crisis still alive and kicking
    Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann sounded an alarm over the eurozone financial crisis, which he says is far from over as member nations resist the kinds of drastic changes needed. Noting that recently quiet financial markets may be giving the wrong impression, Weidmann cited several problematic situations. "The reform course in France seems to have floundered, in Italy it has been brought into question by the elections and in Cyprus [which is struggling to get a bailout] the situation is especially unclear." Reuters (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japan's Kuroda says more forceful action needed to defeat deflation
    More monetary easing has to be on the agenda for the Bank of Japan if it is to meet its 2% inflation target any time soon, said governor nominee Haruhiko Kuroda. The country's deflation, prolonged as it has been, will require stronger measures to dislodge, Kuroda said in a hearing. "It is difficult to achieve 2% inflation at an early time under the bank's current monetary policy. I'm sure that further monetary easing is necessary," he said. Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)/Jiji Press (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japanese consumers pick up on Abe euphoria
    High expectations generated by Japan's new government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have filtered down to consumers, with the Cabinet Office's monthly consumer sentiment index rising last month to its highest reading in 5½ years. A second index, by the Nippon Research Institute, showed consumers' economic outlook for the next 12 months compared with the previous year at its highest point since the polling began 36 years ago. The Wall Street Journal (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Dangers seen if U.S. Fed moves to reduce bond buying
    Any move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut back on its bond-buying program might be misinterpreted by markets as a step toward ending the program, analysts warn. Because markets are not used to interpreting Fed moves on this front, the result could destabilize stocks. Consequently, some say the Fed would be well advised to make clear that the bond buying can be stepped up again as the occasion demands. Reuters (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Reader Survey 
  • Which of the following policy goals in China are most likely to be achieved by the end of the new leadership's "10-year term"?
Lowering the GDP share of infrastructure investment spending and net exports, while increasing domestic consumption
Fighting corruption, eliminating bureaucracy, and encouraging government officials to conduct themselves honorably
Improving social fairness and income equality within the "scientific development" framework
Reforming the capital markets as well as liberalizing the renminbi and interest rates

  Market Activities 
    Stocks paused from recent runups in Europe and the U.S. on Tuesday as investors weighed new economic data and the likelihood of risks and rewards moving forward. The Stoxx Europe 600 was virtually unchanged, registering 0.04% higher at the close of trading at 295.37. The S&P 500 edged down 0.24% to 1,552.48. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (3/13) , Reuters (3/12) , CNNMoney (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian shares decline
    Taking their cue from China, shares declined across Asia on Tuesday. The Nikkei eased 0.28% to 12,314.81, the Hang Seng fell 0.87% to 22,890.60, the Kospi was down 0.50% to 1,993.34 and the S&P/ASX ended with a 0.56% loss to 5,117.90. Bloomberg (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • China's high monetary supply not necessarily inflationary, experts say
    Growth of 15.2% in China's monetary supply last month from a year before has sparked fears of an oversupply, with the M2-to-GDP ratio reaching 190%. But Lu Zhengwei, Industrial Bank chief economist, said the ratio has traditionally been high and isn't necessarily a cause for inflation worries. Said E Yongjian, a Bank of Communications researcher, "The real danger for prices is the M2 growth rate." (China) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China's steel output soars despite goal of curbing industry
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    Although Beijing has been working to scale back China's steel industry and the construction industry it feeds, steel production jumped 9.8% last month from a year before to reach record output. The country's steel industry is a loss-maker, but production remains stubbornly high despite Beijing's efforts. Hebei Iron & Steel Chairman Wang Yifang said last week that his company has no plans to cut "and will act according to market demands" regardless of goals set by Beijing. The Wall Street Journal (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Philippines reverses export growth trend in January
    A nearly one-third drop in exports of electronics helped pull down Philippine exports in January for a 2.7% year-on-year decline, the worst drop since a 9% falloff in August. Speaking for the electronics industry, Dan C. Lachica, president of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, acknowledged a slowing in orders over the current quarter but also noted companies see indications of a better second quarter. Business World (Philippines) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Change is noted in Asian insurers' preference for foreign debt
    Overseas fixed-income assets, including less traditional instruments, are beginning to generate new interest from Asian insurers, said Charmian Wan of BlueBay Asset Management. "There have been a lot of conversations, and there's a strong pipeline of potential business," said Wan, BlueBay's head of sales for Asia ex-Japan. "Asian clients are no strangers to investing in single-name convertible bonds, but they have not been big investors in CB mutual funds. Now we're seeing that happening." (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China Galaxy Securities drops Shanghai, will pursue IPO in Hong Kong
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    China Galaxy Securities has decided against a simultaneous listing in Shanghai and now will seek to raise as much as US$1.5 billion from its IPO in Hong Kong, sources say, in what is likely to be one of the biggest issues there this year. Galaxy applied for the Shanghai IPO last year, but all such approvals have been halted in a bid to lift existing shares in mainland markets. The Wall Street Journal (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Philippine officials weigh advantages of sovereign wealth fund
    A sovereign wealth fund may be in store for the Philippines as economic managers consider how best to use the country's considerable foreign exchange holdings, officials say. "I'm open to anything that helps the country. ... We're watching keenly how other countries are using their sovereign wealth funds," said Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima. Business World (Philippines) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
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