Asia business sentiment rises in second quarter, global growth risk still dominates

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:00am EDT
 
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By Miyoung Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - Asia's top companies have become more optimistic about their business outlook with the retail and shipping industries rebounding sharply in the second quarter of 2013, the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Survey shows.

The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index climbed six points to 71 in June, its highest level in five quarters and the third consecutive quarterly rise. A reading above 50 indicates a generally positive outlook.

Global economic uncertainty remains the biggest business risk across most countries and sectors, but 44 percent of the 91 companies that participated in the poll are now positive about their outlook, up from 30 percent in the prior quarter.

Corporate sentiment in China, the world's second-largest economy, remained unchanged at its record low of 50 as companies worried about rising costs and global economic uncertainty.

"If you go back a year ago, there is a lot of concern about the global economy - a hard landing in China, a collapse in Europe, and double dip in the U.S. Some of those fears are still around, but they have certainly faded over the course of last year," said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney.

"So whilst companies in Asia still worry about China, it's about whether the growth is 7.5 percent or 7.8. Some of the more extreme fears that were seen a year ago continue to fade, showing a gradual pick-up in company optimism."

INDONESIA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, S.KOREA GAIN

Corporate sentiment in Japan showed solid improvement with the index rising to the highest level in three years as aggressive monetary stimulus starts to revive its economy.   Continued...

 
Employees stand next to a container ship at Ningbo port in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in this June 21, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files