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March 6, 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • Wen notes obstacles as China targets 7.5% growth in 2013
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    China is shooting for 7.5% growth this year, identical to the 2012 target, but adjustments need to be made, departing Premier Wen Jiabao said at the National People's Congress. Warning of "social problems" that have "increased markedly," Wen noted that China's development to date has been "unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable." Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings in Hong Kong, said the problems also include "the risk of a property bubble, significantly increased local government debt, income equality and worsening pollution." Bloomberg Businessweek (3/5) , (China) (3/5) , Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.S. service industries show surprising strength
    Momentum is evident in the latest reading on U.S. service industries, with the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing index rising unexpectedly to 56 last month from 55.2 in January. Resurgence in the housing market is cited as a big supporting factor, along with a gradually firming labor market. Bloomberg (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Small-business index may point to trouble ahead for U.S. economy
    One worrying sign for the U.S. economy and labor moving forward surfaced in the key small-business sector, which accounts for a high proportion of hiring after recessions. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index declined to 113.1 in January from 115.8 the previous month, indicating reluctance on the part of smaller enterprises to respond to low interest rates. Reuters (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. unemployment is expected to hold steady
    Economists predict the much-anticipated U.S. unemployment report for February will show only a slight increase in hiring from the previous month, leaving the jobless rate at 7.9%. Higher taxes that took effect at the start of the year and the budget sequester are cited as reasons behind the subdued hiring. Reuters (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Eurozone services sector, retail sales give positive signs
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    Eurozone retail sales in January posted their strongest gain in three years, and a February purchasing managers' index for the service sector declined less than initially estimated, indicating that the region's recession may be easing. The outlook for continued improvement, however, depends largely on continued strength in Germany, which could widen the gap with the faltering economies of France, Italy and Spain. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.K. services sector registers surprising strength
    A return to recession may be avoided in the U.K. if a pickup in services is any indicator, with Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply reporting that their gauge of activity in the sector rose to 51.8 from 51.5 in January. The gain surprised economists, who had predicted a decline to 51. "Whether this trajectory can be maintained, however, is another question entirely, given other sectors have not performed as well," commented CIPS chief David Noble. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • HSBC sells U.S. portfolio, reducing its business in U.S.
    Extending its overall consolidation under CEO Stuart Gulliver, HSBC is paring its U.S. operations with the sale of a portfolio of consumer loans for US$3.2 billion. The latest move will "accelerate the run-off of the legacy consumer mortgage and lending business and are a continuation of HSBC's strategy to reposition its U.S. operations," said HSBC Finance chief Patrick Burke. Bloomberg (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Market Activities 
    Market highs were recorded Tuesday in both the U.S. and Europe. The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 1.81% to close at 294.11, its highest close since June 2008, after which the financial crisis began to pound markets lower. In the U.S., the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.89% to close at a record 14,253.77, while the S&P 500 gained 0.96% to end at 1,539.79, both boosted by expectations of continued supportive monetary policy. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (3/6) , MarketWatch (3/5) , CNNMoney (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian shares gain broadly
    Expectations of further stimulus in developed economies and affirmation from the Chinese leadership of a sustained growth target for the new year lifted shares across Asia on Tuesday. The Nikkei gained 0.27% to 11,683.45, the Hang Seng edged up 0.10% to 22,560.50, the Kospi added 0.17% to 2,016.61 and the S&P/ASX jumped 1.30% to 5,075.40. Bloomberg (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 

  • China's tax on property profits spurs sales, may generate resistance
    The Chinese government's newly affirmed intention to enforce a 20% tax on profits from property sales in a bid to tame the overheating market is spurring a rush to sell. Authorities acknowledge the action may briefly produce the opposite of the intended effect and raise prices. But critics also note that local governments, which make a lot of money off land sales, may resist as they hope to keep prices high. The Wall Street Journal (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • S. Korean profits fell during first 9 months of fiscal 2012
    Combined operating profits for companies on South Korea's main stock exchange that close their books in March fell 11.2% over the first three quarters of fiscal 2012 from the year-earlier period, according to figures from the Korea Exchange. Korean securities firms, meanwhile, saw their operating profits slide 53.4% over the same period. (South Korea) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Taiwan PMI skids in holiday-shortened February
    Seasonal factors including the Lunar New Year holiday caused Taiwan's official purchasing managers' index to plunge to the break-even 50 level from 57.7 in January, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research reported. The reading is expected to rebound strongly this month, however, as suggested by a pickup in export orders and industrial productivity, said institute President Wu Chung-shu. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Singapore manufacturing returns to mild contraction
    Singapore's manufacturing sector fell back into contraction in February, with the purchasing managers index easing to 49.4 after briefly topping the neutral level of 50 in January. However, figures for both months were distorted by Lunar New Year, which fell in February this year and January last year. The Business Times (Singapore) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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