Manufacturing activity in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC), as measured by the manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), fell to a nine-month low in August to 49.2. This is the first time since December 2011 that the manufacturing PMI was recorded at a level of below 50. A reading of below 50 indicates a contraction in activity.
The Philippines posted a higher-than-expected year-on-year (y-o-y) gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.9 percent in 2Q12-bringing the 1H12 GDP growth rate to 6.1%. The services sector remained the main driver of growth, supported by sustained growth of manufacturing and a rebound of construction activities during the period.
Manufacturing production in the Republic of Korea grew by only 0.3 percent y-o-y in July. In Japan, industrial production for the month of July appeared flat-recording a 1.0 percent y-o-y marginal decrease. Manufacturing production in Thailand contracted for the second consecutive month in July.
Exports in Hong Kong, China fell 3.5 percent y-o-y in July, while imports fell 1.8 percent y-o-y. The Republic of Korea’s exports of goods dropped 6.2 percent y-o-y in August, amid weak external demand. In the Philippines, exports for the month of June grew 4.3 percent y-o-y. Current account surplus widened in the Republic of Korea in July, while it narrowed in Thailand.
The Republic of Korea’s consumer price inflation eased to its slowest pace in 12 years in August, reaching 1.2 percent y-o-y for the month. Deflation in Japan deepened as consumer prices fell 0.3 percent y-o-y (excluding fresh food) and 0.4 percent y-o-y (overall).
In coordination with the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD), the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) launched a treasury bill trading system on 24 August. With the introduction of this system, all government bonds including treasury bonds and bills will be traded on a single market.
Moody’s Investor Service (Moody’s) upgraded the Republic of Korea’s government bond rating from A1 to Aa3 last week, with the rating outlook remaining stable.
SK Telecom sold bonds in three tranches totalling KRW400 billion in the Republic of Korea last week. In Malaysia, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) priced 10- and 15-year Islamic bonds (sukuk) worth MYR1 billion each and Khazanah Nasional raised MYR2.5 billion from the sale of 10- and 20-year zero-coupon bonds.
In Singapore, the Housing and Development Board raised SGD950 million from the sale of 5- and 10-year bonds.
In Thailand, Korea Eximbank raised THB3.5 billion from a dual-tranche bond sale. Hyundai Capital Service issued CNH500 million of 1.5-year MTN.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance in Thailand announced last week plans to offer special savings bonds to retail investors worth THB80 billion on 3-14 September.
Government bond yields fell last week for all tenors in the Republic of Korea, and for most tenors in the Philippines and Singapore. Yields rose for all tenors in Indonesia, and for most tenors in Malaysia and Vietnam. Yield movements were mixed in the PRC; Hong Kong, China; and Thailand. Yield spreads between 2- and 10- year maturities widened in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, while spreads narrowed in most other emerging East Asian markets.