Hong Kong, China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.0% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 4Q13 following a 2.8% rise in 3Q13. The biggest contribution came from domestic demand, with personal consumption expenditure rising 3.2% y-o-y. For the full-year 2013, GDP expanded 2.9%. In Japan, industrial production increased 4.0% month-on-month (m-o-m) and 10.6% y-o-y in January. In Singapore, manufacturing output grew at a slower pace of 3.9% y-o-y in January following revised growth of 6.4% in the previous month. Manufacturing production in the Republic of Korea slipped 4.2% y-o-y in January following a 3.0% gain in December, and manufacturing production contracted again in Thailand in January as the manufacturing production index fell 6.4% y-o-y following a 6.3% drop in December. The People's Republic of China (PRC)'s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 50.2 in February from 50.5 in January. In contrast, the PRC's non-manufacturing PMI rose to 55.0 in February from 53.4 in January.
In Japan, consumer price inflation in January decreased slightly to 1.4% y-o-y from 1.6% in the previous month. Singapore's consumer price inflation also eased slightly to 1.4% y-o-y in January from 1.5% in the previous month, due to an accelerating decline in the cost of transport and slower rates of inflation for other items. Viet Nam's consumer price inflation slowed to 4.6% y-o-y in February-the slowest pace since November 2009-from 5.5% in the previous month.
In the Philippines, the trade deficit narrowed to US$695 million in December from US$1.3 billion in the same month in 2012, as exports increased while imports declined. Meanwhile, Thailand's current account surplus shrank to US$219 million in January from US$2.5 billion in December, mainly due to the merchandise trade balance shifting to a deficit position, and the Republic of Korea's current account surplus narrowed substantially to US$3.6 billion in January from US$6.4 billion in December.
Last week, the United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore agreed to establish a UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue, which aims to deepen financial and economic cooperation between the two countries. In addition to the dialogue, the two countries also expressed their support for the establishment of a private sector forum to promote the development of the offshore renminbi market. Effective 1 March, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) removed interest rate ceilings on foreign currency deposits in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
The Singapore branch of Bank of China (BOC) last week priced its debut renminbi-denominated bond amounting to CNH3 billion via two tranches: a 2-year CNH2 billion bond and a 5-year CNH1 billion bond with coupon rates of 3.3% and 5.0%, respectively. Meanwhile, Gemdale (Asia) Investment also priced a CNH750 million 3-year bond at a yield of 6.875% in Hong Kong, China.
Government bond yields fell last week for most tenors in the PRC; Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; the Philippines; and Singapore, and rose for most tenors in Indonesia and Viet Nam. Yield movements were mixed in Thailand. Yield spreads between 2- and 10-year maturities widened in the Philippines, while spreads narrowed in most other emerging East Asian markets.