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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (March 22, 2013)

March 22, 2013, Friday, 04:32 GMT | 00:32 EST | 10:02 IST | 12:32 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

***Markets Snapshot (as of 03:00 GMT)***
- Nikkei225 -1.5%
- S&P/ASX +0.3%
- Kospi +0.1%
- Shanghai Composite -0.1%
- Hang Seng -0.3%
- June S&P500 flat at 1,539
- Apr gold flat at $1,613/oz
- May Crude Oil +0.2% at $92.62/brl

- Asian equity markets are mired in uncertainty, as investor sentiment remains confounded by the lack of clarity in Cyprus. After failing to secure support from the Russian officials in Moscow, Cyprus lawmakers will convene tomorrow to try to come up with a more politically tenable answer to Eurogroup demand for a €5.8B bailout collateral. In turn, Eurogroup have acknowledged that pushing for "bail-in" to include deposit tax from accounts under €100K is unrealistic, but still insisit on Cyprus imposing a bank deposit levy. Cyprus Parliament is expected to vote on a new measure early on Friday, after which Troika officials will conduct analysis and make recommendations to the Eurogroup. EUR/USD briefly fell below $1.29 late in US session before recovering late in the US hours.
- Nikkei225 is the biggest decliner among the regional indices, tracking stronger JPY. New BOJ Gov Kuroda's first press conference was largely seen as underwhelming, with the new central bank head remaining mum on any plans for an extraordinary policy action before the regularly-scheduled Apr 4th meeting. Kuroda was also less than resolute in affirming his commitment to a 2-year time frame in reaching the BOJ 2% inflation target, merely indicating that would be the standard expectation for an incoming central bank governor. USD/JPY fell as low as ¥94.52 in the US session - the lowest level since Monday. Later in the Asian hours, Japan's PM Abe said he would be flexible with the hard ¥44T cap on annual new bond issuance and also reiterated the plans for an increase in consumption tax may be revised if the economy cannot generate enough new jobs.

***Currencies/Fixed Income/Commodities***
- USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.2711 v 6.2143 prior close (strongest yuan setting since Jan 14th)
- SLV: iShares Silver Trust ETF daily holdings rise to 10,635 tons from 10,583 tons prior
- GLD: SPDR Gold Trust ETF daily holdings fall by 0.9 tons to 1,221.3 tons
- (AU) Australia MoF (AOFM) sells A$600M 4.25% 2017 Notes; avg yield: 3.0888%; bid-to-cover: 3.28x
- (US) Weekly Fed Balance Sheet Assets Week ending Mar 20th: $3.189T (**record high) v $3.147T prior; M1 y/y change: 11.7% v 12.0% w/w; M2 y/y change: 7.3% v 7.4% w/w

***Speakers/Political/In the Papers***
- (JP) Japan PM Abe: Not bound by ¥44T cap on new bond issuance - addressing parliament
- (JP) Japan Fin Min Aso: BoJ not the only body responsible for Japan to reach 2% inflation target
- (JP) Japan Fin Min Aso may visit China next month - Japanese press
- (JP) JPMorgan Securities Japan economist: Expects 10-yr JGB yields to remain in 0.5%-0.65% range; BOJ bond purchases to keep long-term rates steady - Nikkei News

- (CN) China examining the expansion of consumption tax - Chinese press
- (CN) According to McKinsey, China may become the world's biggest online retail market by 2020 at $420-650B - Shanghai Daily
- (CN) China may issue 50% more LGFV (Local Government Financing Vehicle) Bonds in 2013 - Chinese press
- (CN) IMF's Rodlauer: China data indicates economy on 'even keel'; to sustain 8% GDP; suggests China widen yuan band in the mid-term

- (NZ) Stats New Zealand: Latest migration data suggesting the number of New Zealand residents lost to Australia in Feb was at a 2-year low - NZ press

- (CY) Eurogroup concludes conference call on Cyprus; Statement expected shortly; Reiterates important to guarantee deposits under €100K

- (FR) INSEE (French Stats Agency): Sees 0% q/q GDP in Q1; Sees +0.1% q/q Q2 GDP in France

- Toyo Engineering: 6330.JP: Lowers FY12/13 guidance; Cuts Net profit guidance to ¥1.50B from ¥3.50B prior; Cuts Rev guidance to ¥245.0B from ¥270.0B prior
- HMC: To recall 76k units of the Acura TSX unit in the US - financial press
- Seven and I; 3382.JP: May report FY12/13 Op profit ¥296B (record high) vs ¥308B prior guidance - Nikkei News; -2.7%

- PKX: CEO: Difficult to expect a meaningful recovery in South Korea; Uncertainty in global economy remains - AGM
- LG Chem 051910.KR: Said to be in talks with Honda on supply of lithium batteries for electric vehicles - Korean press; +0.2%

- FMG.AU: Hunan may consider reducing its stake in Fortescue - AFR; -1.9%
- LEI.AU: Chairman Stephen Johns, Directors Osborn, MacFarlane resign citing breakdown with Hochtief; -7.2%
- WHC.AU: Announces cost cutting measures at Tarrawonga, Rocglen mines; To lay off 30 staff and 10 contractors; -2.7%

- SINA: To begin online payment services starting in April - Chinese press
- NKE: Reports Q3 $0.73 v $0.67e, R$6.19B v $6.23Be; +8.5% afterhours
- NKE: CEO: 2013 expectations largely unchanged: Sees 2013 Rev growth in "mid-high single digit rate"; 2013 GMs to be roughtly in line y/y; Q4 Rev growth in "mid single-digit rate", Q4 GMs expect expansion of about 150bps - conf call
- MU: Reports Q2 -$0.28 (incl items) v -$0.19e, R$2.08B v $1.91Be; +3.4% afterhours

***Economic Data***
- (AU) AUSTRALIA JAN CONFERENCE BOARD LEADING INDEX: +0.2% V -0.2% PRIOR (first rise in 3 months)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND FEB ANZ NZ JOB ADS M/M: +1.0% V -0.6% PRIOR (biggest rise since May 2012)
- (JP) Japan investors sold net ¥427.3B in Foreign Bonds last week vs bought net ¥764.4B prior week; Foreign Investors bought net ¥471.9B in Japan stocks last week vs bought net ¥1.12T in prior week
- (US) NORTH AMERICA FEB SEMI BOOK/BILL RATIO: 1.10 V 1.14 PRIOR (2nd consecutive above-parity print after 9 months below-parity)

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