Robots still missing from the largest part of Japan’s economy

TOKYO (June 22): Japan is famous as a land of robots, but most of those machines haven’t made their way off of factory floors.

That presents an opportunity in a country with a serious labor shortage and a relatively unproductive services sector. Automation is seen as a key to better productivity and higher wages, which would in turn support consumption and help push inflation closer to the Bank of Japan’s 2% target.

Asian consumption on upward trend despite weak G7 growth in 2018: Oxford Economics

SINGAPORE (May 25): Relatively weak consumption growth is likely to persist across G7 nations this year, says Oxford Economics on the belief that the impact of a recovery in real incomes will be dampened by higher oil prices and waning wealth effects going forward. 

The research firm’s baseline forecast is for G7 household spending growth to remain broadly stable in 2018, but for the key drivers – namely income, housing wealth, equity wealth and interest rates – to rotate.

Amazon’s threat to Dairy Farm still limited for now: RHB

SINGAPORE (Aug 7): RHB Research continues to rate Dairy Farm International at “buy” with a target price of US$9.53 ($13), after the Jardine Group member last week announced a 7% in 1H earnings to US$213 million.

See: Dairy Farm posts 7% increase in 1H earnings to US$213 mil

More cheer for ThaiBev as it gets high on beer

SINGAPORE (July 3): The worst is over for Thai Beverage in view of a marked recovery in Thailand’s beer consumption data, says RHB Research, which has maintained its "buy" rating on the counter with a $1.10 price target estimate.

In a Monday report, analyst Juliana Cai highlights a 5% and 10% y-o-y growth in Thailand’s beer sales for April and May this year, respectively, based on the latest statistics released by the Bank of Thailand.

6 consumer names to watch as Indonesia continues to grow

Indonesia market

SINGAPORE (May 12): The economic data coming out of Indonesia appears to suggest investors should now be on the lookout for buying opportunities.

While its GDP grew 5% in 1Q17, falling just short of the consensus expectation of 5.1%, there are also expectations that S&P Global Ratings will upgrade the country’s credit rating from junk to investment grade this year, which could trigger capital inflows.

Fitch gave Indonesia an investment grade rating in 2011 and Moody’s Investment Service upgraded the country in 2012.

Western shoppers are fueling a revival for made-in-Asia goods

HONG KONG / NEW DELHI (May 9): Sanjay Janghala walks across a humming factory floor as 400 employees of Orient Craft Ltd. stitch together women’s blouses and embroidered dresses.

"That’s for Ann Taylor, that’s for Gap," said Janghala, the factory head, before stopping to pick up a white dress. "This is for J. Crew. This is all value added. This is all cut by hand."

Top hedge fund turns to Australian cannabis firm for next bet

SYDNEY (May 2): Tribeca Investment Partners Pty, owner of the world’s best-performing hedge fund last year, has found its next stock pick: a tiny grower of cannabis.

The Sydney-based money manager has bought shares in the initial public offering of Cann Group, the only Australian company that has a federal government license to cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to Ben Cleary, who co-manages the Tribeca Global Natural Resources Fund with Craig Evans. The fund, which soared 145% in 2016, is up 2.7% this year through the end of March.

Why weak 1Q economic data does not forebode a declining US economy

SINGAPORE (April 27): Even with the improvement of US household and business confidence, as indicated by the rebound in consumption-related soft data since the US presidential elections, ABN AMRO Group Economics is mindful that hard data has yet to catch up to reflect this optimism.

In a financial markets research report issued on Wednesday, senior economist Maritza Cabezas highlights that a widening gap between soft data (surveys) and hard data, such as retail spending figures, that is characteristic of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.

GLP clinches new leases in China, Japan

SINGAPORE (March 9): Logistics facilities provider GLP has signed 69,000 sqm of new leases in China and Japan over the past three months.

This was driven by higher online and offline retail consumption in both countries, the company says.

Its new leases include 42,000 sqm by three retailers in China, including Aeon and Metro, who are first-time customers for GLP.

In Japan, 27,000 sqm is leased to Maruni Business Logistics, a third-party logistics provider, to support growing demand from apparel companies.

3 ways China’s semiconductor industry is set to transform global markets

SINGAPORE (Jan 19): Citigroup is expecting the republic’s semiconductor sector to become the global industry’s main growth driver in the years to come, given the trend of increasing demand and emerging opportunities for China’s semiconductor vendors in the global supply chain.  

In its bid to cut trade deficit and increase semiconductor self-sufficiency levels, China is currently working towards a revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% in 2016-2020 for its integrated circuit (IC) industry to $143 billion.

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