In a meeting held on 16–17 May, the Board of Governors of Bank Indonesia decided to raise by 25 basis points (bps) the 7-day reverse repurchase rate to 4.50%, the deposit facility rate to 3.75%, and the lending facility rate to 5.25%. The rate hike is part of policy measures undertaken by Bank Indonesia to maintain economic and financial stability on the back of rising risks and tightening liquidity in global financial markets. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Thailand decided to keep its policy rate steady at 1.50% in its meeting held on 16 May. In its assessment, the domestic economy continues to strengthen, buoyed by growth in the external sector and improvements in domestic demand.
Japan’s economy contracted 0.2% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, following growth of 0.1% q-o-q in the previous quarter, based on preliminary estimates from the Cabinet Office. Private consumption was unchanged in Q1 2018 following 0.2% q-o-q growth in the previous quarter. Private residential investment and private nonresidential investment fell 2.1% q-o-q and 0.1% q-o-q, respectively, in Q1 2018. Malaysia’s economy expanded 5.4% y-o-y in Q1 2018, underpinned by strong private sector expenditure and a buoyant external sector. Private consumption and investment grew 6.9% y-o-y and 0.5% y-o-y in Q1 2018, respectively, and exports grew 3.7% y-o-y. The public sector underperformed, with consumption increasing marginally by 0.4% y-o-y while investments declined 1.0% y-o-y.
Consumer price inflation in Japan eased to 0.6% y-o-y in April from 1.1% y-o-y in March, driven by slower annual increases in five out of ten commodity groups and the continued contraction in two groups. On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices in Japan fell 0.4%.
Indonesia posted a trade deficit in April of USD1.6 billion, a reversal from the trade surplus of USD1.1 billion recorded a month earlier. The Central Statistics Agency noted an unusual increase in imports, which climbed 34.7% y-o-y in April to USD16.1 billion. Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports improved 11.8% y-o-y in April, a reversal of the decline of 3.2% y-o-y in March. The growth was mainly due to non-electronic exports, which grew by 19.6% y-o-y, a better performance from March’s decline of 1.7% y-o-y.
Malaysia’s current account surplus grew to MYR15.0 billion in Q1 2018 from MYR14.0 billion in the previous quarter, owing to a higher goods account surplus (MYR35.7 billion from MYR34.1 billion) and a lower services account deficit (MYR5.8 billion from MYR7.0 billion). The Philippines’ overall balance of payments position posted a deficit of USD270 million in April 2018, a reversal of the surplus of USD917 million in April 2017.
The People’s Republic of China’s industrial production rose 7.0% y-o-y in April after rising 6.0% y-o-y March. All three major industrial categories showed improvement; however, mining output growth remained negative.
Yields rose fell for most tenors in the Republic of Korea, largely on the back of improving investor sentiment. Yields on the other hand, rose for all tenors in the Philippines following a prior policy rate hike while yields rose for most tenors in the remaining markets, largely tracking US yields. The 2-year versus 10-year yield spread rose in all markets except Viet Nam.