What happened this week 16/09 – 20/09

Thailand

  • HSBC cuts GDP growth forecast to 2.8% for 2013 — HSBC has slashed its expansion forecasts for Thailand to 2.8% this year and 4.4% next year after downbeat economic growth in the first half. The government should allocate more of its budget to ensuring more sustainable growth, said HSBC’s ASEAN economist Su Sian Lim. HSBC previously projected that Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP)would expand by 5% this year and by 6.2% in 2014. (Bangkok Post, 16/09/13)
  • BoT not worried by rising loan rejections – A considerable increase in loan rejection rates at commercial banks is not worrisome while the proportion of bad auto loans remains steady, a senior central bank official said. The rise in loan rejection rates could be the case of applicants having higher debt obligations while their incomes remain the same, assistant governor Salinee Wangtal said yesterday. (Bangkok Post, 17/09/13)
  • Worries about spending in high season — CEOs in the manufacturing sector are concerned over whether or not spending will recover in the next three months in the high season. In the annual “Srithai Superware” event, sales have fallen by 20%. (Thansethakij, 18/09/13)
  • NIDA official endorses borrowing bill – The director of an academic program at the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) has thrown his support behind the Bt2tn borrowing bill. The infrastructure megaprojects could help turn Thailand into a regional logistics and transport hub, Montree Socatiyanurak, the director of NIDA’s Master of Public Administration executive program, said in a statement. (Bangkok Post, 18/09/13)
  • Industry confidence down in August – The Thai industries sentiment index (TISI) dropped to 91.3 in August, from 91.9 reported in July, Payungsak Chartsuthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said on Wednesday.
  • Industry confidence has now been below the 100 level for 14 months in a row, and is at its lowest level for 22 months on the back of a decline in orders, overall sales volume, production output and poor business performance. (Bangkok Post, 18/09/13)
  • Public debt at 44% of GDP — The Treasury department reveals that in July public debt for the country stands at Bt5.2trn, or 44.11% of GDP, down from Bt12bn from the previous month. (ASTV Manager, 19/09/13)
  • Revenue misses target by B19bn – The Revenue Department’s revenue collection during the first 11 months of the 2013 fiscal year fell short of target by 1.2% or Bt19.13bn, said Somchai Sujjapongse, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office. However, the amount was 2% higher than in the same period last year. (Bangkok Post, 20/09/13)

Global

  • US: Obama says he will not negotiate on raising U.S. debt ceiling – U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that he will not negotiate with his Republican rivals on raising the country’s debt ceiling to avert a debt default of the world’s largest economy. “What I haven’t been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling,” Obama said in an interview with the ABC News aired Sunday. (Xinhua, 15/09/13)
  • U.S. wholesale prices go up in August – U.S. wholesale prices rose in August after staying flat in the prior month, on the back of an increase of food and energy prices, U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures price changes at factory gates, gained 0.3% last month on seasonally adjusted basis. (Xinhua, 14/09/13)
  • U.S. retail and food services sales for August edged up 0.2% from the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday, falling short of the economists’ forecast of gaining 0.4%. The U.S. Producer Price Index for finished goods rose 0.3% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said. Meanwhile, prices for finished goods minus foods and energy remained unchanged in August. Official data showed that U.S. manufacturers’ and trade inventories advanced 0.4% in July from June, beating market consensus.
  • U.S. consumer confidence dips to 5-month low in Sept. – U.S. consumer confidence dipped to a five-month low in September as interest rates moved higher, according to a consumer sentiment index released Friday. The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment for the first half of September edged down to 76.8, the lowest level since April, from 82.1 in August, the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index showed. (Xinhua, 13/09/13)
  • Europe: Eurogroup backs disbursement of second bailout tranche for Cyprus – Eurogroup finance minister meeting in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on Friday backed the disbursement of a second tranche for Cyprus under a €10bn bailout deal. In a statement made public in Nicosia, the Eurogroup hailed Cyprus’s efforts to stabilize the financial sector and meet targets for fiscal consolidation. (Xinhua, 14/09/13)
  • US: Manufacturing activity in the New York region improved modestly for the fourth straight month in September, said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in a report Monday. The general business conditions index for September edged down to 6.3 from 8.2 in August, but remained in positive territory, it said. U.S. industrial production advanced 0.4% in August after staying unchanged in July, the Fed reported Monday. (Xinhua, 17/09/13)
  • EUROPE: Spain’s economy to grow by 0.7% in 2014: report – The Spanish economy will grow by 0.7% YoY in 2014, according to a report published by the Spanish Saving Banks Association (Funcas) on Monday. The report said Spain’s economy would grow by 0.7% in 2014 thanks to better behavior of domestic demand and exports, while for the whole year of 2013 the country’s GDP will fall by 1.3% YoY. (Xinhua, 17/09/13)
  • Italy: Istat reports that Italy’s trade surplus for July increased to €5.9bn up from €4.7bn YoY. The increase in trade surplus was supported by better exports in July, rising 3% YoY, while imports for the same period dropped by 0.3%. (IQ Biz, 16/09/13)
  • Labor costs rise 0.9% in eurozone, EU in Q2 – Hourly labor costs in the euro zone rose by 0.9% in the second quarter this year, European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said Monday. The latest data, compared with a 1.7% increase in the first quarter, indicated a slower pace on cost rising in the euro zone. (Xinhua, 16/09/13)
  • Banking union needs treaty change in long-term – Bundesbank – Closer integration of the European financial system with a cross-border body to wind up or restructure failing banks will require a change of the EU treaty eventually, the Bundesbank’s vice president said on Monday. Sabine Lautenschlaeger, in charge of banking supervision on the Bundesbank board, said plans for common bank supervision under the European Central Bank and a single resolution mechanism were not sufficiently backed by the EU treaty and the ECB statutes. (Reuters, 16/09/13)
  • Eurozone’s CPI down to1.3% in August – The consumer price inflation (CPI) in the eurozone decreased to 1.3% in August from 1.6% in July, European Union (EU) statistics office Eurostat said Monday. The annual inflation in the EU was 1.5%, down from 1.6% in July. In August, the lowest annual rates were observed in Greece at -1.0% and the highest in Estonia at 3.6%. (Xinhua, 16/09/13)
  • U.S. The Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the so-called “core” inflation index also rose 0.1% last month, indicating that inflationary pressure was largely absent. Moreover, following four consecutive months of improvement, U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes remained unchanged in September, with a reading of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Tuesday. (Xinhua, 18/09/13)
  • US: Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000, up 0.9% from the revised July figure of 883,000, the Commerce Department said. Meanwhile, housing permits in August dropped 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000. Both missed market consensus. U.S. mortgage applications for the week ending Sept. 13 increased 11.2%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, rebounding from a drop of 13.5% in the previous week. (Xinhua, 19/09/13)
  • Europe: ACEA reports that auto sales in Europe for August fell by 4.9% to 686,957 cars, compared to 722,458 cars last year. The number is a record low as low unemployment rate continues to impact auto sales in Europe. (IQ BIZ, 17/09/13)
  • Eurozone, EU post trade surplus in July – The eurozone registered a trade surplus of €18.2bn in July, up from a surplus of €13.9bn in the same period last year, European Union (EU) statistics office said Tuesday. The July surplus was also larger than the €16.5bn recorded in June, Eurostat figures showed. (Xinhua, 17/09/13)
  • Spain’s public debt reaches 91.6% of GDP in July – The Spanish public debt reached €947.18bn (US$1,264.48bn) in the first seven months of the year, representing 92.6% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP), the Bank of Spain reported on Tuesday. The debt surpasses by 1% the Spanish government predictions for 2013, 91.6% of the country’s GDP. (Xinhua, 17/09/13)
  • The Spanish treasury on Tuesday raised €4.56bn (US$6.11bn) in treasury bills auction at higher interest rates. A total of €1.44bn worth of six-month treasury bills fetched an average interest rate of 0.911%, higher than 0.83% in the previous auction held in August. (Xinhua, 17/09/13)
  • Greece: Greece gripped by two-day strike over job cuts in civil services – Greece is in the grip of a new 48-hour strike which started on Wednesday, as the two main umbrella unions of public and private sector employees ADEDY and GSEE protest against compulsory job transfers and layoffs of thousands civil employees. Thousands of civil servants participated in a rally in central Athens on Wednesday, denouncing the harsh policies requested by international lenders to resolve the debt crisis under bailout deals. (Xinhua, 18/09/13)
  • China: Chinese entrepreneurs’ confidence dips – Confidence among Chinese entrepreneurs fell in the third quarter of the year from Q2, a central bank survey revealed on Wednesday. The entrepreneur confidence index, a gauge of views and opinions from Chinese entrepreneurs on the domestic economy, retreated 1 percentage point to 62.8%, said the People’s Bank of China. (Xinhua, 18/09/13)
  • China’s SOE profits up in first eight months – China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) saw profits rise 9.7% year on year in the first eight months of 2013, a jump in pace from 7.6% in the first seven months, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday. (Xinhua, 18/09/13)
  • US: The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits increased 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 309,000 in the week ending Sept. 14, the Labor Department said Thursday, which is below market expectations. Meanwhile, existing-home sales rose 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48mn in August, the highest level in six and a half years, said the National Association of Realtors. The Leading Economic Index for the United States rose 0.7% in August, following a 0.5% increase in July, the Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association, said Thursday. Also, the U.S. manufacturing activity index in the mid-Atlantic region rose to 22.3 in September from 9.3 in August, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (Xinhua, 20/09/13)
  • U.S. current account deficit narrows in second quarter – U.S. current account deficit decreased to US$98.9bn in the second quarter this year, down 5.7% from the revised figure in the previous quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The decline was due to a decrease in the deficit on goods and an increase in the surplus on income. These changes were partly offset by an increase in net outflows of unilateral current transfers including government grants, the report said. (Xinhua, 20/09/13)

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