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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (March 31, 2014)

March 31, 2014, Monday, 05:49 GMT | 00:49 EST | 09:19 IST | 11:49 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News


***Highlights/Observations/Insights***
- With anticipated drop-off in consumption going into the start of higher sales tax this week, Japan manufacturing is already slowing. Markit PMI fell for the 2nd consecutive month with a 0.6pt decline, while the Output component was down over 4pts at 54.2. Separately, industrial production for Feb fell sharply as well - 2.3% drop was the biggest decline in 8 months.
- Also of note in economic data, Australia TD Securities inflation was in line with prior at 2.7% y/y, which is at the high end of RBA's target range. TD Sec chief economist said it was likely this recent pickup in inflation that has kept the RBA from talking down the currency in recent months, and given the apparent build-up in inflation, RBA may hike rates at least once before the end of 2014.
- All of China's top 5 banks have now reported FY13 results and the results are seen as somewhat alarming. China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications both saw an increase in y/y net profits, however impairment losses for both rose and ROEs fell. A separate report summarized that China's top 5 banks saw a 127% increase in bad debts to CNY59B.
- North Korea has maintained its belligerent stance, alarming defense officials in the South. Over the weekend, North Korea Foreign Ministry said it will not rule out a new nuclear test to boost its "nuclear deterrence." Later in the day, Pyongyang announced a no-sail, no-fly warning off west coast, near disputed border with South Korea before conducting a live artillery drill.
- US State Sec Kerry and Russia Foreign Min Lavrov held high-profile talks in Paris on Sunday with mixed results. While the two agree to pursue a diplomatic path toward resolving the situation in Ukraine, they appear to remain far apart in their positions. Russia is calling for a federal structure in Ukraine govt that would allow more regional autonomy to the eastern cities and to keep Russian language as the 2nd official language of the country as a backdrop to "broadest cooperation." Kerry's post-meeting remarks indicated that it will not discuss federal govt structure without Ukraine leadership at the negotiating table, which has previously opposed granting more autonomy to the east. Instead Kerry continued to demand that Russia pulls back its large troop presence on Ukraine's borders.

***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.1521 v 6.1490 prior setting (3rd consecutive weaker setting; weakest setting since Sept 18th)
- USD/CNY: Offshore Yuan (USD/CNH) weakens beyond CNY6.2150; 1-year low
- USD/TRY: Turkish Lira strengthens in early trade following a strong showing for PM Erdogan's ruling party in municipal elections; USD/TRY falls below TRY2.1750, 1-month high for Lira

- USD majors are mixed in Asian session - AUD/USD pared its initial gains above $0.9250, falling below $0.9230; USD/JPY is in a 15-pip range above 102.80; and NZD has continued to come off its multi-year highs seen last week to trade down over 25pips from session highs around $0.8650. EUR/USD is also contained to a narrow 15-pip range around $1.3750 ahead of critical flash CPI data in the European session that could tip the scales for the upcoming ECB decision later this week.

***Equities***
US markets:
- YHOO: Said to be creating competitor to YouTube - financial press
- TWTR: Said to be in plans to release mobile ad product for apps - financial press
- GM: Expands ignition switch related recall by another 824K vehicles (in addition to the 1.6M already recalled); US House Committee panel provides update on GM recall details - financial press

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: Intime Department Store Group 1833.HK -6.6% (share, bond issuance to Alibaba; enters JV); Suning Appliance 002024.CN -2.6% (FY13 results)
- Financials: China Minsheng Bank 1988.HK -2.9% (FY13 results); Bank of Communications 3328.HK -1.6% (FY13 results); China Pacific Insurance Group 2601.HK +0.9% (FY13 results); China Construction Bank 939.HK +0.8% (FY1 results); Haitong Securities 6837.HK +1.4% (FY13 results)
- Materials: Angang Steel 347.HK +1.4% (FY13 results); BHP Billiton BHP.AU +1.4% (exec comment on China iron ore demand)
- Energy: China Shenhua Energy 1088.HK flat (FY13 results)
- Industrials: Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology 1157.HK -6.2% (FY13 results); China Railway Construction Corp 1186.HK +1.7% (FY13 results); China Railway Construction 390.HK +1.7% (FY13 results); Metallurgical Corp of China 1618.HK +3.9% (FY13 results); Mitsubishi Motors 7211.JP +1.9% (to acquire Ford factory in Philippines)
- Technology: Quanta Computer 2382.TW -5.5% (FY13 results); Hon Hai Precision Industries 2317.TW -0.7% (FY13 results)


***Economic Data***
- (JP) JAPAN FEB PRELIM INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION M/M: -2.3% V +0.3%E (largest decline in 8 months); Y/Y: 6.9% V 9.9%E
- (JP) JAPAN MAR MARKIT/JMMA MANUFACTURING PMI: 53.9 V 55.5 PRIOR (2nd straight decline)
- (AU) AUSTRALIA MAR TD SECURITIES INFLATION M/M: 0.2% V 0.2% PRIOR; Y/Y: 2.7% V 2.7% PRIOR
- (AU) AUSTRALIA FEB PRIVATE SECTOR CREDIT M/M: 0.4% V 0.4%E; Y/Y: 4.3% V 4.3%E
- (AU) AUSTRALIA FEB HIA NEW HOME SALES M/M: 4.6 V 0.5% PRIOR (3-month high)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND Q1 WESTPAC EMPLOYMENT CONFIDENCE INDEX: 108.4 V 103.4 PRIOR (multi-year high)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND FEB BUILDING PERMITS M/M: -1.7% V +2.0%E (2nd straight decline)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND MAR ANZ ACTIVITY OUTLOOK: 58.2 V 58.5 PRIOR; ANZ BUSINESS CONFIDENCE: 67.3 V 70.8 PRIOR (first decline in 4 months)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND FEB M3 MONEY SUPPLY Y/Y: 6.9% V 7.0% PRIOR
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE: $4.5B V $3.3B PRIOR; GOODS BALANCE: $5.4B V $4.4B PRIOR
- (SG) SINGAPORE FEB CREDIT CARD BAD DEBTS: 19.8M V 20.6M PRIOR; CREDIT CARD BILLINGS: 3.1B V 3.6B PRIOR
- (SG) SINGAPORE FEB MONEY SUPPLY M1 Y/Y: 7.8% V 10.7% PRIOR; M2: 2.4% V 3.6% PRIOR
- (UK) UK MAR HOMETRACK HOUSING SURVEY M/M: 0.6% V 0.7% PRIOR; Y/Y: 5.7% V 5.4% PRIOR

Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 +0.4%, S&P/ASX +0.3%, Kospi +0.2%, Shanghai Composite -0.2%, Hang Seng +0.1%, Jun S&P500 +0.3% at 1,856, Jun gold +0.2% at $1,296, May crude oil -0.2% at $101.45/brl

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