The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 4Q14, the same pace as in the previous quarter. For full-year 2014, the PRC’s GDP grew 7.4%, slightly lower than the government’s target of 7.5%. Primary industry output rose to 4.1% y-o-y in 2014 from 4.0% y-o-y in 2013, while secondary industry output fell to 7.3% y-o-y from 7.8% y-o-y and tertiary industry output fell to 8.1% y-o-y from 8.3% y-o-y over the same period.
Growth in the PRC’s industrial production rose to 7.9% y-o-y in December from 7.2% y-o-y in November. The PRC’s retail sales growth rose 11.9% y-o-y, up from 11.7% y-o-y in November 2014. Meanwhile, fixed-asset investment rose 18.1% in full-year 2014, compared with 17.9% in January–November.
In the Republic of Korea, economic growth slowed to 2.7% y-o-y in 4Q14 from 3.2% in the previous quarter, based on preliminary estimates released last week by The Bank of Korea. On a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) and seasonally adjusted basis, GDP growth slowed to 0.4% in 4Q14 from 0.9% in 3Q14.
On 20 January, the Prime Minister of Malaysia stated that the government was revising its 2015 GDP growth target to 4.5%–5.5% from its previous target of 5.0%–6.0%, which was included in the 2015 budget announced last October, and its 2015 fiscal deficit target to 3.2% of GDP from 3.0%. The revisions were made amid the recent drop in oil prices.
Hong Kong, China’s consumer prices rose 4.9% y-o-y in December after gaining 5.1% y-o-y in November. The government said that December’s lower inflation rate was due to slower increases in food prices and declines in the prices of durable goods and clothing and footwear.
In Malaysia, consumer price inflation stood at 2.7% y-o-y in December—down from 3.0% y-o-y in November—and at 3.2% for full-year 2014. Singapore reported deflation for the second month in a row in December at –0.2% y-o-y; full-year 2014 inflation eased to 1.0%.
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced last week an expanded asset purchase program that includes the purchase of sovereign bonds in addition to its existing purchases of bonds issued by the private sector. Monthly purchases worth EUR60 billion will be carried out until at least September 2016. The program aims to fulfill ECB's mandate of ensuring price stability by addressing the risks of prolonged low inflation.
Last week, Australia-based ANZ raised CNY2.5 billion in Basel III-compliant Tier 2 bonds, making it the first non-Chinese bank to issue Dim Sum Tier 2 notes. The bonds have a maturity of 10 years and carry a coupon of 4.75%. TPI Polene, a cement manufacturer in Thailand, raised THB6 billion from a dual-tranche bond sale last week, selling a THB3 billion 4-year bond at a 4.85% coupon and a THB3 billion 5-year bond at a 5.20% coupon.
Yields fell for all tenors in Indonesia on expectations of foreign inflows into emerging market assets after ECB expanded its stimulus program, while yields fell for most tenors in Malaysia on lower inflation. Yields fell for most tenors in the PRC, and the Philippines while it rose for most tenors in Hong Kong, China; and Thailand. The spread between 2- and 10-year yields narrowed for most markets except for Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.