Hong Kong, China’s overall consumer prices, based on the Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased 3.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in June, compared with a 3.7% gain in May, amid a moderate hike in private housing rentals. In Japan, consumer price inflation slowed to 3.6% y-o-y in June from 3.7% in May, due to slower increase in the prices of food and utilities. Consumer price inflation eased in Singapore to 1.8% y-o-y in June after reaching a 14-month high of 2.7% in May. In Viet Nam, consumer price inflation eased to 4.9% y-o-y in July from 5.0% in June amid slower annual hikes in food prices and transportation costs.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the Republic of Korea moderated to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in 2Q14 from 0.9% in 1Q14, and to 3.6% from 3.9% y-o-y, based on advance estimates of The Bank of Korea released last week.
The merchandise trade deficit of Hong Kong, China narrowed to HKD43.1 billion in June from HKD49.7 billion a year earlier. Merchandise exports climbed 11.4% y-o-y in June following a 4.9% increase in May, due to improved performance from major trading partners. The biggest effect came from increased demand for Hong Kong, China’s exports in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (13.9%) and the US (5.7%). The government said that recovery in developed economies should provide further support in trade in the future but noted that uncertainties over the US monetary policy and eurozone performance can pose risks. In Japan, merchandise trade deficit widened to JPY822.2 billion in June from JPY180.5 billion in the same month last year.
The Philippines’ merchandise trade balance shifted to a surplus of US$718 million in May from a deficit of US$141 million a year on positive export growth due to increased demand from the PRC, the US and Japan. On the other hand, imports contracted 9.6% y-o-y in May. Viet Nam’s merchandise trade balance reversed to a deficit position of US$250 million in July from a surplus of US$379 million a year earlier. Export growth decelerated to 6.9% y-o-y in July from 12.4% in June led by y-o-y declines in shipment of petroleum products, rubber, and electronics and computer parts.
Manufacturing production in Singapore rebounded in June, rising 0.4% y-o-y for the month following a contraction of 1.9% y-o-y in May, led by growth in the output of biomedical manufacturing, chemicals, general manufacturing, and precision engineering clusters.
Local currency (LCY) corporate bond issuance in the Republic of Korea stood at KRW55.2 trillion in 1H14, down 5.2% from 1H13, amid annual decreases in issuance of bank debentures and non-financial corporate bonds, according to a Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) report released last week.
Hyflux, a Singapore-based water treatment service provider sold a SGD175 million subordinated perpetual bond last week. The bond carried a coupon of 4.8%, which will be reset every 2 years using the 2-year Singapore dollar swap-offer rate as reference rate, and a step-up margin of 200 bps.
Government bond yields fell last week for most tenors in Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Viet Nam. Yields were mixed in the PRC. Singapore; and Thailand while it rose for most tenors in Hong Kong, China; and the Philippines. The spread between 2- and 10-year bonds widened for most markets except for the PRC, the Philippines, and Thailand.