SINGAPORE, March 20Asia's top companies,
especially those in the export engines of China, Japan and South
Korea, are wary about their business outlook, while Southeast
Asia is outperforming as a result of strong local consumption,
the latest quarterly Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business
Sentiment Survey shows.
Global economic uncertainty ranks as the chief business risk
across all sectors and all countries, as it has for the past
year and a half, and is mainly responsible for the cautious
sentiment despite a flood of global liquidity benefiting most
The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index
rose to 65 in March from 63 in December, when it edged
up by 1 point from the September survey. A reading above 50
indicates an overall positive outlook.
Business sentiment in Southeast Asia's $1.5 trillion economy
was mostly optimistic, thanks to government-driven investment in
infrastructure and robust domestic spending. Malaysia and the
Philippines were the most positive with readings of 100 each.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore; Additional reporting
by Ranjit Gangadharan in MUMBAI and Janeman Latul in JAKARTA;
Editing by Daniel Magnowski and Alex Richardson)