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Economics & Finance

Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Survey Shows Business Sentiment Rising

Business sentiment at Asia's top companies rose slightly in the fourth quarter, reversing two consecutive quarters of decline, according to the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Survey which was published today.

The poll was conducted between December 3-14 and of the 96 companies that responded 33.33 percent reported a positive outlook for the next 6 months, an increase from the 32.99 percent positive responses in the third quarter. The number of negative responses declined from 9.28 percent to 7.29 percent while neutral responses rose to 59.38 percent from 57.73 percent. The overall index reading was 63, up slightly from the 62 reading in the third quarter and also higher compared to the 57 index reading in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, in association with INSEAD, the leading international business school, polled more than 100 executives in 11 Asia-Pacific countries across a broad range of sectors including autos, financials, resources, technology, food and retail.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Business sentiment at Asia's top companies rose slightly in the fourth quarter.
  • Global economic uncertainty continued to rank as the chief business risk across all sectors and across all countries as it has for the past year and a half. Rising costs was the second greatest business risk followed by “other” risks like regulatory uncertainty, political instability and then foreign exchange (FX) volatility.
  • The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Corporate Sentiment Index <RACSI> rose to 63 in Q4 2012 from 62 in Q3 2012. An index above 50 indicates a positive outlook.
  • The sentiment of Chinese companies rebounded in the fourth quarter from an all-time low in the previous quarter. Two companies were positive, five were neutral while none reported a negative sentiment.
  • Three out of seven respondents in China said employment levels were higher, a significant improvement compared to only one respondent in the previous quarter. 
  • Companies in Taiwan were the most negative in Asia with a 33 index reading in Q4 compared to a reading of 40 in Q3. Companies in Japan followed with a reading of 44 compared to a Q3 reading of 48.
  • Airlines and the building sector were the most negative with index readings of 0 and 25 respectively.
  • India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines were tied for the most positive responses with readings of 100 each, followed by Thailand with a reading of 75.
  • The food sector was the most positive among industries with a reading of 77 in Q4 compared to 73 in Q3, followed by the drug sector with a reading of 72 in Q4, although that was a decline from the 80 in Q3.
  • The finance sector was overwhelmingly neutral with a reading of 50 - with 14 of the 18 respondents reporting a neutral reading, two reporting a negative reading and two reporting a positive reading. 
  • A partial list of companies that participated in the poll includes: Asahi Breweries, Astellas Pharma, Ayala Land, Canon, Charoen Pokphand Foods, Daiichi Sankyo, Fast Retailing, Galaxy Entertainment, Goodman Group, Honda Motor, Hyundai Heavy Industries, ICTSI, Indofood Sukses Makmur, James Hardie, Kalbe Farma, Kirin Brewery, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Oil Search, PLDT, Sembcorp Marine, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Toshiba, YES Bank, Yuanta Financial.

The full survey highlights can be viewed online at: http://link.reuters.com/gyf74t

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