Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) slowed to 7.0% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 1Q15 from 7.3% in 4Q14. GDP growth was driven by gains in the tertiary sector, which rose 7.9% y-o-y. The secondary sector grew 6.4% y-o-y and the primary sector rose 3.2% y-o-y. Meanwhile, the PRC’s industrial production growth slowed to 5.6% y-o-y in March from 6.8% y-o-y in the January–February period and from 8.8% y-o-y in March 2014. In Singapore, the economy expanded 2.1% y-o-y in 1Q15 based on advance estimates released last week by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Both the construction and services sector recorded gains in 1Q15 with y-o-y growth of 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively. The manufacturing sector, however, contracted 3.4% y-o-y in 1Q15 as output in the transport engineering, electronics, and precision engineering clusters declined.
The People’s Bank of China cut by 100 basis points (bps) the reserve requirement ratio for all banks. There is an additional 100 bps cut for rural cooperative banks, and an additional 200 bps cut for the Agricultural Development Bank of China. The reduced reserve requirement ratios come into effect on 20 April.
In its meeting held on 14 April, the Board of Governors of Bank Indonesia decided to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at 7.50%, Bank Indonesia also left unchanged the deposit facility at 5.50% and the lending facility at 8.00%. In its Monetary Policy Statement last week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said that it will keep its policy of modest and gradual appreciation of the S$NEER policy band and left unchanged its slope and width, and the level at which the band is centered.
The PRC’s trade surplus in March narrowed to CNY18.2 billion from CNY370.5 billion in February. In Indonesia, a trade surplus of US$1,132 million was recorded in March, nearly double the US$663 million trade surplus in February, on the back of a growing non-oil and gas surplus. In Singapore, non-oil domestic exports (NODX) rebounded strongly in March, posting 18.5% y-o-y growth after contracting 9.7% y-o-y in February.
In the Philippines, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos rose 4.0% y-o-y in February to reach US$2.1 billion.
Foreign investors' net bond investment in the Republic of Korea rose to KRW1,370 billion in March, according to the Financial Supervisory Service. The largest net foreign bond investment in March came from the PRC at KRW743 billion. By the end of 1Q15, US investors remained the largest foreign holder of Korean bonds.
Hong Kong, China issued an additional HKD3.2 billion in HKSAR bonds last week via a reopening of existing HKSAR bonds that mature in 2020. The new issuance has a tenor of 5 years and a coupon rate of 1.06%. The Government of Malaysia priced US$1.5 billion worth of dual-tranche US dollar sukuk (Islamic bonds) via a special purpose vehicle, Malaysia Sovereign Sukuk. The issue comprised a US$1.0 billion 10-year tranche and a US$500 million 30-year tranche. The 10-year and 30-year sukuk were priced at 155 bps and 170 bps over US Treasuries, respectively.
Government bond yields rose for all tenors in Indonesia buoyed by strong trade figures released last week. Yields for most tenors rose in Hong Kong, China; Malaysia, and Viet Nam. In contrast, yields fell for most tenors in the Philippines and Thailand. The yield spread between the 2- and 10-year yields widened for Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore while it narrowed for other emerging East Asian markets.