NEW DELHI, June 18 Asia's top companies reported
a bullish outlook in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the
first three months despite worries over the global economy and
rising costs, the latest ThomsonReuters/INSEAD Asia Business
Sentiment Survey showed.
Of the 124 companies who responded to the poll, none
reported a negative outlook for the first time in the survey's
history. The ThomsonReuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index
rose significantly to 74 in the second quarter compared
to a 64 reading in January-March.
A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook.
AUTOS: TURNS BULLISH (INDEX AT 67 VS 50 IN Q1)
Sentiment among Asian automakers jumped to a two-year high
during the second quarter, with two of six respondents positive
on the outlook. In the last quarter, all 11 respondents were
neutral. New orders and sales increased at four automakers while
global economic uncertainty remained the biggest worry for most
respondents, which included India's Hero MotoCorp.
BUILDING: BIGGEST JUMP (INDEX AT 75 VS 50 IN Q1)
Sentiment for the building sector rebounded in the second
quarter as half the companies polled reported a positive
outlook, helped by an increase in new orders and sales. In the
first quarter of 2014 all companies had a neutral outlook.
Global economic uncertainty continued to be the top risk.
DRUGS: CONFIDENCE DENTED (INDEX AT 70 VS 79 IN Q1)
Currency volatility, rising costs and global economic
uncertainty hampered the recovery of confidence for drugmakers,
which slipped in the second quarter. Three of five respondents
were neutral on their outlook, while two were positive. The
participants include India's Lupin Ltd and Japan's
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.
FINANCIALS: SENTIMENT SLIPS (INDEX AT 60 VS 64 IN Q1)
Asia's financial sector was the most pessimistic with
sentiment declining in the second quarter compared to the first.
Eight of 10 companies reported a neutral outlook as global
economic uncertainty continued to pose the biggest threat.
Malaysia's Alliance Financial Group took part in the
survey, among others.
FOOD: TURNING A CORNER (INDEX AT 75 VS 60 IN Q1)
Food and beverage companies have shown gradual improvement
in outlook over the last two quarters with six of 12 companies
reporting a positive outlook. Rising costs were a concern for
the majority of companies in the survey. Japan's Asahi Breweries
and Kirin Holdings were among the respondents.
PROPERTY: GRADUAL REBOUND (INDEX AT 79 VS 75 IN Q1)
Concerns over the global economy failed to dampen the
sentiment among Asia's property firms with 10 of 17 companies
reporting a positive outlook. New orders and sales increased for
more than half the firms while about 40 percent expected to hire
more people. Australia's Stockland Corp and Ayala Land
of the Philippines participated in the survey.
RESOURCES: HIGHEST SINCE Q2 2011 (INDEX AT 80 VS 62 IN Q1)
Resource companies reported the most bullish outlook in the
second quarter with business sentiment at a three-year high.
More than half the 23 companies polled said the outlook was
positive with new orders and sales increasing for 11 firms.
Australia's Oil Search was among the respondents.
RETAIL: RISING COSTS TAKE TOLL (INDEX AT 69 VS 75 IN Q1)
The mood among retailers deteriorated from the preceding
quarter with eight of 13 polled being neutral on their forecasts
and the remaining were bullish. Rising costs were the biggest
concern for the respondents, which included Japan's Seven & I
Holdings and Fast Retailing, and China's
SHIPPING: STEAMS AHEAD (INDEX AT 75 VS 67 IN Q1)
Asia's shipping industry painted a much brighter outlook
during the second quarter, pushing up the reading to a one-year
high of 75 from 67 in the previous survey. However, global
economic uncertainty remained a major source of concern for the
sector. South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd
was among the companies surveyed.
TECH: OPTIMISM IMPROVES (INDEX AT 73 VS 65 IN Q1)
More technology companies were upbeat about their businesses
even as global economic uncertainties and rising costs remained
major concerns. New orders and sales increased for more than
half the 26 respondents which included Japan's Canon,
Hitachi and NTT DoCoMo.
** Companies sampled for the survey may change from one
quarter to the next.
(Compiled by Aditi Shah; Editing by Matt Driskill)