SYDNEY, Sept 18 Asia's top companies were less
upbeat about their business outlook in the third quarter of 2013
as concerns about the global economy and rising costs dampened
sentiment, the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business
Sentiment Survey published on Wednesday showed.
Global uncertainty on when the U.S. Federal Reserve will
taper its $85 billion bond buying program and geopolitical
tensions in Syria have spooked markets, dealing a blow to
The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index
fell to a reading of 66 in September from 71 in the
second quarter. A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive
AUSTRALIA: MODERATELY HIGHER (Index at 79 vs 75 Q2)
Corporate confidence in Australia rose to match highs hit in
the first quarter of 2012 as the conservative coalition won a
landslide victory in the federal election, bolstering sentiment.
Incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared Australia as
"open for business".
Of the seven respondents, four were positive while three
remained neutral about the business outlook. In the previous
quarter there were 14 respondents, with seven neutral and seven
having a positive outlook.
The majority of respondents cited global economic
uncertainty as their main source of concern and said the number
of new orders remained the same.
CHINA: STEADY (Index at 50 vs 50 Q2)
Business sentiment in China remained flat for a third
consecutive quarter as all eight companies surveyed said their
business outlook remained neutral.
Five respondents cited the world economy as their biggest
concern while the remainder flagged rising costs as their
primary worry. One respondent reported a rise in employment
compared to none last quarter while three said new orders had
INDIA: SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT (Index at 67 vs 63 Q2)
Optimism returned to India, lifting its sentiment index
moderately higher after a drop last quarter.
Three respondents said their main concern was a shaky world
economy while a rout in the rupee in August also rattled
sentiment with a third of companies worried about foreign
exchange rates. Two respondents reported a lift in employment
while five said new orders had risen.
Political instability was also cited as a concern from one
Lupin Pharmaceuticals Ltd, India's fourth-largest
drugmaker by sales, and electricals retailer Godrej & Boyce were
among the participants.
JAPAN: STEADY (Index at 63 vs 63 Q2)
Business confidence remained steady in Japan at 63, its
highest point since June 2010 among the 20 companies surveyed,
which included tech giant Canon Inc and global
pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo.
Half the respondents said global economic uncertainty was a
primary concern while the remainder cited rising costs and
exchange volatility as roadblocks to any moves higher. Two
companies saw an increase in employment while two had decreased;
the remaining 16 saw the same levels as the previous quarter.
SOUTH KOREA: SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER (Index at 50 vs 64 Q2)
Corporate sentiment slumped to 2013 first-quarter lows of
50, as six of the nine respondents said global economic
uncertainty was the biggest risk to businesses this quarter.
Four companies said it saw a rise in new orders while the
remainder stayed the same. In employment, one company said its
levels of employment increased but the remaining eight were
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co was among the
participants in the survey.
TAIWAN: DOWNBEAT(Index at 50 vs 67 Q2)
Taiwan saw its business sentiment slump to 50, its lowest
point since the fourth quarter in 2012. Electronics company Acer
Incorporated was among those surveyed.
Eighty percent of respondents said the biggest risk to
businesses was global economic uncertainty while the remainder
cited rising costs as their primary concern.
Two companies said employment levels had increased, while
one reported a rise in new orders, a slight improvement from
SOUTHEAST ASIA (Phillipines at 100 Vs 94; Thailand at 71 vs
42; Malaysia at 69 vs 83; Singapore at 50 vs 83; Indonesia at 25
Sentiment in Southeast Asia was mostly upbeat with the
Phillipines posting unanimous confidence across all 12 companies
surveyed, an uptick from the previous quarter.
Businesses in Thailand were mostly positive, strengthening
from multi-year lows hit last quarter, with three positive about
business outlook and four remaining neutral.
Both Malaysia and Singapore fell from the previous quarter
with the majority of businesses in both countries citing
uncertainty in the global economy as the biggest risk.
Indonesia had the lowest index score, slumping from last
quarter's perfect outlook as businesses cited domestic inflation
and global uncertainty for a bleak outlook.