The People's Republic of China's (PRC) gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate slowed to 7.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 1Q14 from 7.7% in 4Q13. The GDP growth rate in 1Q14 was the slowest since 3Q12. Industrial production growth, as indicated by the industrial value-added of companies of a certain size, slowed to 8.7% y-o-y in 1Q14 from 10.0% in 4Q13. Growth in fixed asset investment slowed to 17.6% y-o-y in 1Q14 from 20.9% in 1Q13 and full-year 2013's growth rate of 19.6%. Also, the PRC reported that in 1Q14 new loans reached CNY3.01 trillion and additional total social financing reached CNY5.6 trillion. For the month of March alone, new loans granted reached CNY1.05 trillion and total social financing provided was CNY2.07 trillion.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last week chose to maintain the current trajectory of the Singapore Dollar Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (S$NEER) policy band. MAS will maintain a steady appreciation of the band and maintain the current slope, as well as the price level at which it is centered. MAS deemed its current policy to be appropriate given the need to balance risks between uncertainties in external demand versus increasing local inflationary pressures.
Consumer price inflation in Malaysia rose 3.5% y-o-y in March, the same pace of inflation recorded in February. In the Republic of Korea, the producer price index fell 0.5% y-o-y in March after contracting 0.9% in February.
Retail sales in Singapore declined 9.5% y-o-y in February mainly due to a drop in sales of food and beverage products as a result of the different timing of Chinese New Year this year compared with 2013. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, retail sales increased 3.0% in February, driven by motor vehicles sales.
In the Philippines, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos rose 6.0% y-o-y in February to reach US$1.99 billion. This was mainly driven by the continued increase in transfers of land-based workers with long-term contracts (4.3%) and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts (10.3%). The United States (US), Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom (UK), Singapore, Canada, and Japan remained the top sources of cash remittances coursed through banks.
Last week KT Corporation in the Republic of Korea priced a 3-year US$-denominated bond worth US$650 million at a coupon rate of 1.75% and a 5-year US$350 million bond carrying a 2.625% coupon.
Guosen Securities issued a 3-year bond worth CNH1.2 billion at a yield of 6.4%. ICBC sold a CNH2.5 billion dual-tranche bond. The CNH2.0 billion 2-year tranche was priced to yield 3.2% and the CNH500 million 5-year tranche was priced to yield 3.9%.
Government bond yields fell last week for most tenors in the PRC, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, while yields rose for most tenors in Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia and the Philippines. Yield spreads between 2- and 10- year maturities widened in Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam, while spreads narrowed in most other emerging East Asian markets.