US Economy

Beware of mixed economic signals

The Dow Jones index rose above 14,000 for the first time since 2007.

Investors should heed conflicting economic signals. If they had predicted last week where the next negative sign was coming from, many would have said Europe, which is unlikely to emerge from its debt woes without another mini-crisis or two. But it turned out to be the US, where the economy contracted 0.1 per cent in the December quarter, against market expectations of more than 1 per cent growth. Conflicting signals emerged by the end of the week, with revised figures showing the US economy added many more jobs than thought in the December quarter, sending the Dow Jones index above 14,000 for the first time since 2007.

Monday, 4 February, 2013, 3:02am

When China's collective vision meets America's individual voice

Xi Jinping, the new Communist Party chief, called for full adherence to the constitution, which guarantees free expression and rule of law. Photo: Reuters

The governing systems of the world's two largest economies are in crisis. As the United States has been grappling with a fiscal cliff, China faces a social cliff. Without major reform, both will falter.

4 Feb 2013 - 3:02am

Antony Leung warns rising interest rates could derail flat supply boost

Antony Leung Kam-chung

Leung warned of a repeat of the failed "85,000 flats a year" target announced by then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 1997. By the time the new flats were ready, he said, the market would have shrunk due to external economic factors, leaving it unable to absorb all the flats.

3 Feb 2013 - 5:36am 13 comments

US jobs figure sparks hope, stocks up

Employers added 157,000 jobs to their payrolls last month. Photo: AFP

US employment grew modestly last month and gains in the prior two months were bigger than initially reported, supporting views the economy's sluggish recovery was on track despite a surprise contraction in output in the final three months of 2012.

2 Feb 2013 - 4:48am

How they see it, January 27, 2013

U.S. President Obama speaks at the White House in Washington. Photo: Reuters

1. Jakarta Globe 

27 Jan 2013 - 1:51am

Wise choice or just loopy?

Jack Lew has served as White House chief of staff for the past year, following jobs under Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Photo: AP

A short doodle or squiggle or scribble has set Washington and Wall Street's chattering classes chattering excitedly. The Wall Street Journal and Forbes have run articles about it, and compared the series of linked loops to a scribble by a not very bright bored child, a practice session by the machine that decorates Hostess cupcakes and curly fries that took a curl too far.

23 Jan 2013 - 3:55am

Probable US home sales rise points to recovery

Combined purchases of new and existing properties climbed to a 5.49 million annual rate last month, the highest level since November 2009. Photo: Bloomberg

Sales of US homes probably rose in December to the highest level in three years as the industry headed toward a more rooted recovery in 2013, economists said before reports this week.

23 Jan 2013 - 4:47am

Asia-Pacific's time to shine

A key factor in keeping Sydney's prices high is an under supply of property. Photo: Bloomberg

One person's challenge is another's opportunity, or so the saying goes. In the context of property investment, the euro zone's continuing woes seem to augur well for Asia-Pacific markets.

A global research report by real estate services firm DTZ suggests that from an investor's perspective "most Asia-Pacific markets remain attractive", considering the degree of uncertainty elsewhere.

23 Jan 2013 - 4:47am

Chart of the Week: US credit growth

Signs of optimism

Faster bank credit, money supply growth and rising Treasury yields signal the United States economy is poised to pick up this year even amid the fiscal drag triggered by last month's budget deal, according to MKM Partners.

21 Jan 2013 - 3:57am

American business attacks generous hand that feeds it

Deserving of credit

Tom Donohue, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said last week that higher taxes and a "flood of new regulations" would damage an already subpar economy.

"In many ways, we're going backwards," he said.

Such complaints, echoed by corporate executives throughout President Barack Obama's first term, obscure one fact: American business has never had it so good.

18 Jan 2013 - 5:27am

World Bank bearish on global outlook

A man begs outside at a market in Valencia, eastern Spain. The World Bank has warned that a slow recovery in developed nations is acting as a brake on the global economy. Photo: EPA

Warning that the global economy continues to be fragile, the World Bank yesterday sharply cut the growth outlook for this year.

The multilateral bank forecast global gross domestic product this year would edge up to 2.4 per cent from 2.3 per cent in 2012, revised down from the 3 per cent growth it predicted in June.

17 Jan 2013 - 3:22am

Yuan at fairer rate than 5 years ago, says Summers

The yuan has appreciated about 17 per cent since late 2007.

Lawrence Summers, the former top economic adviser to US President Barack Obama, has said that the yuan is not as undervalued as it was five years ago.

"The renminbi is not saliently, strikingly undervalued in the way it was five years ago," Summers said yesterday at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.

15 Jan 2013 - 5:26am

Li & Fung expects 2012 core operating profit to drop 40pc

Li & Fung's business in the US has been slower than expected, contributing to a decline in its core operating profit. Photo: Bloomberg

Li & Fung says net profit for last year will not exceed that of the previous year and core operating profit will in fact drop 40 per cent, worse than analysts' estimates.

"This is worse than I expected. Obviously it's a negative for the company," said Nomura analyst Tanuj Shori.

12 Jan 2013 - 4:02am

US debates minting US$1tr coin to help pay off its debt

The US treasury is set to run out of funds next month. Photo: Corbis

The looming showdown between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over raising the US$16.4 trillion US federal debt limit has made alternatives - including minting a trillion-dollar coin or invoking a constitutional amendment to pay the bills - part of the political debate.

So far, the Obama administration is not participating.

10 Jan 2013 - 6:43am

Not so fun for some at Asia's biggest toy fair

South Korean pop star Psy inspires the world of toys.

While some Hong Kong and US toy executives see a better outlook for the industry this year, exhibitors at Asia's largest toy fair feel are feeling gloomy.

"This is not a good year. I can feel it. The booths are quiet," said Herman Chan, an exhibitor at the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair.

9 Jan 2013 - 4:08am