Asia News Update
Asia: Exports down for most Asian countries
Source: The Wall Street Journal, 08 May 2015
A combination of a scattered recovery in the US and slower economic growth rates for China have increased the probability that interest rates will further decrease in order to stimulate growth. China experienced a 6.4 percent year-on-year drop in exports for April while Taiwan´s exports fell by 11.7 percent. Taimur Baig, chief economist in Asia at Deutsche Bank said, “It is turning out to be yet another year when U.S. demand for Asian exports have lagged the general expectation. We see this development as a warning sign for the region’s export-dependent economies.”
China, India, South Korea, Thailand as well as Indonesia have all had to cut interest rates in order to spur growth. Currently there is relatively low inflation and and public debt making it easier to implement policies to simulate the economy. China is still having to face a falling real estate market which threatens economic stability. Both production and investment indicators have been falling.
India: BMW plans to add 10 additional outlets and 15 new models
Source: Economic Times, 10 May 2015
BMW has fallen down to rank 3 in terms of market share in India. Philipp von Sahr, BMW Group India president said, "We'll take our brand foot prints to 50 this year from the present 40. Most of the new sales centres will come up in tier 2 cities like Vijayawada, etc." For Q1/2015 Mercedes is ranked number one, followed by Audi with 40 and 15 percent growth increase respectively for the quarter. Sahr added, "In 2015 we will expand our product range and cover all the opportunity available in the luxury car segment. We'll be launching 15 models this year.
Out of the 15 models, four will be brand new models, which will be imported from our global centres and the rest will be re-launches. We've already launched the concept car BMW i8, and the other brand new models are the X5M, the X6, and the X6M. There will also be re-launches of the 1 Series and the 3 Series." BMW has no intent in lowering the prices, but rather is focusing in contributing to the Make in India campaign. Financially, producing in India will benefit in terms of duty reduction while heading for devaluations in either the Euro or Rupee. Audi, Mercedes and BMW have commanded up to 90 percent of the luxury car market.
Indonesia: Luxury car manufacturers facing troubles in supporting the automotive industry
Source: Jakarta Post, 07 May 2015
Car producers in the luxury segment such as Mercedes and BMW are finding it hard to support the government´s plans to localize their spare parts and components due to the sub-standard quality of the products. The industry can currently not meet the high standards set by these luxury automakers. Indonesia aims to overtake Thailand which currently is the leader in components and spare parts producer in the region.
Indonesia complains that in order to comply with their standards it would make sense if the automakers would share their knowledge. However, Japanese car manufacturers such as Toyota and Daihatsu are able to produce up to 87 percent locally. Aston Martin has also opened its first showroom in Jakarta, however it will not assemble any of its cars or parts in the country.
Phillipines: Rising middle class boost auto sales in the country
Source: Borneo Post, 09 May 2015
Last year the automotive industry has grown largely due to economic expansion and a rising middle class. Additional growth in the industry is expected to come from government incentive programs for investors of large scale vehicle production. January sales were up by 19.3 percent year on year. The passenger car segment has experienced a year on year growth rate of 35.8 percent and has reached 7,200 units, while heavy duty vehicles increased 14.2 percent.
Throughout the first 11 months of 2014, FDI has increased by 61.6 percent or USD 5.7 billion. The Phillipines has been able to attract international car makers due largely a rise in consumer purchasing power. Volkswagen has plans to invest up to USD 200 million for construction of a new assembly plant in the country. However, currently the automobile market in the Phillipines is dominated by Japanese car manufacturers. The main challenge for the the country´s industry to become an auto-manufacturing center to date are its limited infrastructure and utilities.If the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) programme gets approval, the industry will be able to benefit from incentives and make the Philippines more competitive in the marketplace.
China: Japanese Kao completes USD 41 million construction of chemical products plant in Shanghai
Source: Chemicals Technology, 08 May 2015
The plant will be located at the Shanghai Fine Chemical Industrial Park in the Jinshan District. Kao now has a total of three plants located in mainland China. The new plant will produce surfactants which are used for laundery detergent, shampoo products and for industrial purposes. Kao continues to have plans for developing its presence in the China and Asia markets.
Thailand: Dow Chemical starts operations at its polyether polyols plant in Rayong
Source: Chemicals Technology, 30 April 2015
The plant will include DMC catalyst technology and will supply its products for consumers and industrial applications. Dow Polyurethanes business president Glenn Wright said: "This expansion is directly aligned to our long-term strategy to address customer demands and invest in high-value markets, where our technology and services are differentiated.”
He further stated, "We are committed to listening and responding to market dynamics with value-added products and services that benefit our customers and help them seize growth opportunities." The new technologies used at the plant will eliminate solid waste and reduce the plant´s carbon footprint by up to 70 percent. Also, together with Sadara joint venture with Saudi Aramco, Dow will start its operations at the Saudi Arabia plant in 2016.
Singapore: Evonik Industries opens its expanded oil additives plant in Jurong Island
Source: Chemicals Technology, 08 May 2015
The plant will double its current production output. Evonik Resource Efficiency Segment management board member Dr Johannes Ohmer said: "The expanding mobility in Asia, a stronger focus on resource efficiency and higher fuel economy, as well as tighter emission limits are spurring growth in demand for high-performance lubricants."
The Singapore expansions was made possible by having already established good supply chain logistics, infrastructure, IP protection and support from the local Singapore Economic Development Board.
Construction & Property Development
Asia: Overall office vacancy levels in Asia increase amid oversupply
Source: World Property Journal, 06 May 2015
According to a new CBRE report, Q1/2015 vacancy levels for office space has increased for the first time in two years. The main reason behind the oversupply is mainly due to a large stock of new supply to be completed shortly as well as a slowing leasing market. The CBD in Manila's has seen vacancy levels increase by 5.1 percent Q-on-Q while Bangkok saw an 8.1 percent increase. However in key gateway cities such Hong Kong, and Tokyo solid rental growth was able to offset slower performing cities such as Perth and Seoul.
Among some of the key trends within the Asia markets are the steady increase in grade A office buildings in cities such as Shenzhen and New Delhi which have made up 50 percent of this new space. However other tier 2 and 3 cities will also see a surge in new grade A office space. Another trend is that the CBRE APAC Office Rental Index is estimated to grow another 3.5 percent in 2015. Regional office net absorption decreased by 35 percent due largely to seasonal factors and a shift in focus on more long term oriented strategies. Manish Kashyap, Regional Managing Director, Head of Brokerage Services, CBRE Asia Pacific said, “Demand in the region will continue to be led by domestic companies whilst multinationals remain cost sensitive.”
Singapore: Demand for construction, interior design and other architectural services to grow amid regional developments
Source: Channel NewsAsia, 07 May 2015
Singapore firms such as Sunray have already started to chase after the growth opportunities in exporting construction and other architectural services. Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry said, "To seize these regional growth opportunities, our companies must be able to offer higher value services, and competitive products and design, and more efficient delivery systems to compete with international and local players. Our Government agencies stand ready to support growth-oriented companies."
Hong Kong: Cheung Kong Property Holdings to be listed in Hong Kong on 3 June
Source: SCMP, 08 May 2015
Current shareholders of CK Hutchison Holdings to receive one share of Li Ka-shing’s CK Property for each CKH Holdings shares they hold. According to the CK Property’s IPO prospectu, “The net effect is the company’s overall indebtedness level and its finance costs and interest payments are expected to be lower immediately following the listing than they were prior to completion of the property businesses combination, primarily because of the settlements of the amounts due to the non-property businesses.”
CK Property´s net gearing ratio decreased from 41.9 percent in 2013 to 34.2 percent in 2014. The company´s turnover in 2014 increased by 41.3 percent amounting to HKD 24.04 billion while its net profit amounted to HKD 17.07 billion, up 20.6 percent. By the end of Q4/2014, the company had 15.8 million sqm of development land bank with 14.5 million sqm in the mainland and 1.6 million square meters of rental properties. CK Property also managed 14,600 hotel rooms and 21 million sqm in Hong Kong and mainland properties. CK Property is estimated to be valuated at HKD 172.2 billion.
Consumer & Retail
China: Consumer inflation increased to 1.5 percent throughout April, lower than expected
Source: Channel NewsAsia, 09 May 2015
Japanese financial firm Nomura said, "April CPI inflation remained subdued. CPI inflation at these levels means there is ample room for monetary policy easing." January´s consumer inflation of just 0.8 percent in China have risen concerns regarding deflation risks. CPI levels have declined for the 38th consecutive month in April causing analysts to urge the government for more monetary stimulus measures.
Since November 2014, the PBoC have already cut interest rates twice as well as reduced the banks reserve rates. The PBoC is aming to only use monetary policies to stimulate the economy and is not interested in using quantitative easing measures for now. China´s exports along with its GDP have both decreased during the past months.
India: E-commerce industry to be worth more than USD 16 billion by Q4/2015
Source: Business Standard, 06 May 2015
India is seeing an increase in online economic activities such as travel, retail, tourism, food and beverages have which will lead the whole e-commerce industry to be worth more than USD 16 billion by the end of the year. India has grown steadily from USD 4.4 billion since 2010. The largest chunk, namely 61 percent, comes from online traveling. Amid slower growth rates in the European and Japanese e-commerce industry, businesses are planing on further expanding their business in developing countries. In India, mobile phones are considered to be the strongest driver for the industry.
D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham said, "The smartphone is steadily growing and consists of 35 percent of the overall mobile phones market in the country and success rate of some of the technologies is directly connected to the success of e-commerce." Today, as much as 235 million people in India access the internet through their mobile phones, thus mobile apps have been increasingly important for retailers. Up to 50 percent revenues for retailers such as Amazon, Flipkart and Jabong are made solely through mobile devices. Thus, the Indian online advertising market is also experiencing record growth rates. Both Snapdeal and Flipkart have seen their valuations increase from USD 350 million to USD 3 billion and USD 1.9 billion to USD 11 billion respectively.
Indonesia: Consumer growth is decreasing while badly affecting producers of consumer goods
Energy, Resources & Environment
Japan: Residents call to prevent restarting of two nuclear reactors at the Sendai plant
Source: Business Standard, 06 May 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is increasingly aiming to restart some nuclear power plants which have been shut down after the Fukushima incident. However he faces opposition from many citizens in the country. The district court said that after the new safety standards have been adapted there is no reason why the plants should not be restarted.
China: Coal bans to be expanded to suburban areas and city centers to tackle air pollution
Source: Reuters, 05 May 2015
The National Energy Administration said that it aims to use more centralized heating and use natural gas and renewables for its power supply. China will therefore start banning high-ash and sulphur coal in areas which are highly affected and also areas around Beijing. Subsidies will be handed out for the production of clean fuel, however no further details were revealed.
In a previous action plan by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology the goal was to reduce coal consumption by 80 million tonnes by 2017 and 160 million by 2020. Today, China´s yearly consumption of coal is about 3.7 billion tonnes and makes up around 66 percent of its total energy demand.
Thailand: Global Power Synergy Co to raise USD 303 million in IPO for Southeast Asia expansions
Source: Reuters, 07 May 2015
The company is aiming in buying stakes in 2 gas-fired power plants in H2/2015 while also having plans to invest in power-plants in Thailand and Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia. The IPO pricing will be placed between THB 27-28 with a P/E ratio of 20 and a market cap of THB 40 billion.
This would make GPSC the fourth largest Thai power producer. The company has made THB 23.9 billion in revenues which is a drop of 10 percent from last year. However net profits increased by 36 percent. GPSC aims to have 2,800 MW in power capacity by 2019.
India: Global investment banks wanting a piece of tech start-ups
Source: Reuters, 10 May 2015
Major banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are increasingly employing Indian bankers. The e-commerce industry has already attracted a lot of foreign money from investors such as Softbank Corp and Temasek Holdings. So far large-scale investment banks have stayed away from due to the small size of the deals. Harish HV, a partner in India at advisory firm Grant Thornton said, "Several of these companies will be large IPO candidates in the next 12 to 24 months, so the big banks have to start positioning themselves for this."
For the 3rd quarter in a row, investments for tech-start ups have exceeded USD 1 billion. In order to compete with rival local banks such as Mahindra Capital or Avendus Capital, foreign banks are now pitching for small deals as well. So far, with USD 7.7 million, Credit Suisse has ranked first for the fee income table. Although India has got fewer internet users than China, its overall online slaes are estimated to reach USD 100 million by 2020.
Japan: Bank of Japan facing difficulties in reaching inflation target while 10-year bond yield increase 10 basis points
Source: The Japan Times, 08 May 2015
Haruhiko Kuroda expects the price goal being reached during H1/2016 after he introduced his bond-buying plan during April 2013. Kazuhiko Sano, the chief bond strategist at Tokai Tokyo said, “It’s difficult for the BOJ to meet its inflation target and a failure of the current policy framework will spur talk of a technical exit. The BOJ will need to overhaul the fundamental framework of its quantitative and qualitative easing.” Japan fear that US intrest rate increases will stop the current bull-run in sovereign debt. Even after injecting JPY 80 trillion into the economy, inflation was only able to gain slightly in March.
This year the government plans to sell up to JPY 152.6 trillion in bonds. Consumer prices have only experienced a gain of 0.2 percent throughout March this year which do not include the effects caused by the sales-tax. Chotaro Morita, the chief rates strategist in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc said, “Key here is that the BOJ upholds its commitment by seeing a 2 percent inflation for fiscal 2016 and 2017 during its projected period. “The BOJ is fading out of the two-year commitment and shifting to promising to achieve the goal as early as possible.”
Asia: Up to USD 43 billion in acquisitions scrapped while South-East Asian IPO´s are at a 6 year low
Source: Bloomberg, 11 May 2015
Mergers involving Southeast Asian companies have decreased by 45 percent while 1/5 of acquisitions throughout the past 12 months have been canceled. In Singapore, Goldman Sachs Group has reduced its investment-banking team by as much as 30 percent while both UBS and Band of America are departing. Due to the low commodity prices, many companies are reluctant to start an IPO. The two largest IPO´s this year were Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund’s USD 1.7 billion share sale and Malakoff Corp´s share sale of USD 770 million.
Tim Leissner, chairman for Southeast Asia at Goldman Sachs said, “While our Southeast Asia strategy and client coverage model remains unchanged, we do expect activity levels to be challenged.” Mostly due to the low oil prices, the USD 20 billion merger which would have formed the largest banking group in Malaysia has been terminated, while Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi failed to buy control of Singapore builder United Engineers Ltd. Interest rates were also among the factors in slowing down Singapore´s IPO activities. Currently Singapore is aiming in courting mining companies, attract IPO´s from abroad and strengthen its ties witch China.
Logistics & Transportation
Asia: Slowdown in logistics and industrial rental growth due to oversupply
Source: World Property Journal, 05 May 2015
Q1/2015 in the Asia Pacific region saw its demand for logistics space driven mostly by atuomotive, e-commerce and manufacturing. 65.6 million sq. of new logistics warehouse space will be supplied of which Shanghai and Seoul will both have 20 percent and Toyko 17 percent. The strong oversupply have continued to dampen regional rental growth rates throughout the past 4 years. With scattered demand across the region, Q1/2015 saw 3PLs and e-commerce companies in China, South Korea as well as Japan to continue extending their networks due to the growth of online retail. Automotive producers were mostly active in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Seoul. However, with a forecasted 10.8 percent growth y-on-y, the Philippines still remains the fastest growing manufacturer in the Asia region. This in return led to slight increases in factory rents across Asia during Q1/2015.
Darren Benson, Executive Director, Industrial & Logistics, Brokerage Services, CBRE Asia, said, “In particular, we see that e-commerce is having a changing effect on most markets, especially China, Japan, South Korea and India.The trend for e-commerce companies to build their own logistics networks is encouraging logistics developers to acquire land and develop logistics centers, or engage in build-to-suit projects to capture this demand..” Jonathan Hsu, Head of Occupier Markets Research, CBRE Asia Pacific said, In Singapore, the labor shortage and weak manufacturing outlook affected demand for lower-end warehouses whilst in Hong Kong, due to the weak retail market and high cost of ramp-up facilities, the demand has shifted towards more cost-effective cargo facilities.”
Southeast Asia: Haier and Toshiba combine logistics resources to cut distribution costs
Source: Want China Times, 8 May 2015
Haier Electronics Group of China and Haier of Japan have started utilizing each others shipping channels in an attempt to cut distribution costs of its appliances in Southeast Asia by 10-20%. The ides has gotten off the ground with the subsidiaries of the two companies, Toshiba Logistics and Haier Asia, which initiated a partnership in the Philippines by arranging joint distribution sites and shipping products to retailers in Manila.
A next step in the partnership will be the sharing of cargo containers in June between the two companies. Haier Asia will use them to ship appliances made in other countries to Manila, as Toshiba looks to use them to export goods made in the Philippines. Haier Asia looks to make this a trend for the company going forward to help further reduce its logistics costs.
Indonesia: APL Logistics unveils new container freight station in Jakarta
Source: Port News, 8 May 2015
The new container freight station (CFS) is located at the Tungya Collins Terminal in Cakung, North Jakarta. The new CFS will augment the company’s existing export consolidation and warehousing presence in Indonesia. The move also supplements its existence as a sourcing hub for both international and domestic distribution.
The company’s 11,000 square-metre storage and distribution facility also features a large yard space with cross-docking capabilities. The CFS is near the Port of Jakarta (Tanjung Priok) and has an annual handling capacity of 600,000 cubic metres.
Manufacturing & Industrial
Taiwan: President calls reduced trade with China unrealistic
Source: Wall Street Journal, 10 May 2015
“Mainland China is our largest trading partner, so it is impossible to reduce our trade with mainland China significantly,” said Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He did say, however, he has looked to diversify the country’s economic reliance on the mainland in order to reduce market risk. To help achieve this end, Taiwan has recently signed trade agreements with New Zealand and Singapore, and continues to try and join regional trade blocs such as the U.S. led Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mr. Ma also said that since taking office in May/2008, the government has been working to help exporters grow their business by looking to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Six such countries - Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei - composed 18.7% of Taiwan’s total exports last year, up from 14.5% in 2007. An accord on the services trade with China has been blocked since the student led Sunflower Protests in March/2014, which forced a concession to make legislation for the oversight of agreements with China. Mr. Ma views this oversight as non-beneficial to Taiwan.
Singapore: Manufacturing economy down in April
Source: Channel News Asia, 4 May 2015
In its fifth straight month of decline, the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registered 49.4 points, down 0.2 points over the previous month. The contraction in April can be attributed to a continued decline in new orders and new export orders, According to the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management.
Singapore's electronics sector also saw a decline in April, as the electronics PMI came in at 49.1, down 1.0 point over the previous month. Analysts believe he country falls short of the larger electronics manufacturing companies and so focus more on traditional products, such as hard disks than innovative ones, such as wearable technology.
Malaysia: Industrial production slows in March
Source: The Malaysian Insider, 8 May 2015
A poll by Reuters showed that industrial production was down 4.5% y/y. This extends the slowdown in growth to a third month and can be attributed to the slump in energy prices that has hurt the mining industry.
The manufacturing in the electrical and electronics goods sectors is expected to aid production numbers. Annual output in February grew 5.2%, weakening since December 2014 due to lower commodities prices as they continue to effect factory output.
Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
China: Government to up health care subsidies as reform continues
Source: Reuters, 3 March 2015
The Chinese government will increase its subsidies to 19% in 2015 to bolster its social safety nets and continue its social reforms. Qualified urban and rural residents will see their subsidies rise to 380 yuan, from 320 yuan last year. Efforts will also be made to increase the affordability of drugs and medical checks, reform the salaries of healthcare workers and increase the presence of doctors in rural areas.
It is essential for China to increase the quality of its healthcare if it wishes to prop up the economy and see domestic consumption rise, economists say. They say a stronger safety net will promote more spending and less saving by Chinese. China's healthcare bill is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2020, according to consultancy McKinsey & Co.
India: Manoj Kumar is the new managing director and area general manager of GSK Consumer Healthcare
Source: Economic Times, 11 May 2015
The company hopes Manoj Kumar’s global experience will help them expand in the general trade market that is central to India’s economy. Doing so requires adapting to a different trade model, incentivizing trade and accelerating distribution and sales models, according to Rajat Wahi, partner, consumer and retail at KPMG. Another task facing Kumar is the integration of GSK Consumer's India operations with the firm's new global joint venture with Novartis (GSK holds the majority 63.5% stake) as GSK and Novartis will continue to operate as independent entities in India.
His team is relatively new. GSK Consumer India has named Vivek Anand as director, finance and CFO, succeeding Ramakrishnan Subramanian who has been promoted as VP, finance for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa operations. Prashant Pandey, who heads the company’s marketing operations, is also quite new, taking the job 5 months ago.