‘Asia business sentiment drops sharply in Q3’
Moneylife Digital Team 19 September 2013

Asian equities, currencies and bonds have taken a beating over the last few months after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted it would halt its nearly five-year policy of flooding markets with cheap cash, points out Reuters in its release on its Asia Business Sentiment survey

Business sentiment among Asia's top companies deteriorated in the third quarter, interrupting three consecutive quarters of an improvement, with global economic uncertainty remaining the biggest concern for the region's firms, the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment survey showed. The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index fell to 66 in the third quarter from 71 in the second quarter when it reached the highest level in more than a year. An index reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook. The survey showed that shipping and financial sectors were the most negative with a third-quarter score of 50, a sharp drop from the shipping industry's reading of 80 and financials' reading of 78 in the second quarter.

  

Asian equities, currencies and bonds have taken a beating over the last few months after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted it would halt its nearly five-year policy of flooding markets with cheap cash, points out Reuters in its release on its Asia Business Sentiment survey.

 

Some of the weakest readings came from north Asia's export-orientated economies of China, South Korea and Taiwan, and regional trading hub Singapore, all of which turned in readings of 50 – highlighting the impact of a stuttering global economy. “Asian companies are still maintaining a relatively cautious outlook regarding their earnings growth prospects,” said Fan Cheuk Wan, chief investment officer for the Asia-Pacific region at Credit Suisse's private banking and wealth management unit. “It could be partly related to the recent volatility across the emerging economies over the past three months.”

 

As recently as a month ago, investors were worried that China's economy was slipping into a deeper-than-expected downturn. But policymakers have stepped in with measures to steady the economy, from quicker railway investment and public housing construction to introducing policies to help smaller companies with financing needs, according to Reuters.

 

The poll conducted by Thomson Reuters News in association with INSEAD, a global business and management school, surveyed more than 100 executives in 11 Asia-Pacific countries across sectors including autos, financials, resources, food and retail.

Of the 90 companies that replied to the poll, held from 2 September 2013 to 13 September 2013, two-thirds reported a neutral outlook, just less than one-third were positive on their prospects and about 1% reported a negative outlook.

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