Asian factories end robust 2017 on mixed note


Asian factories ended 2017 year on a mixed note, with levels of several years in Taiwan and India and, surprisingly, in China, but contracting in some places in a rising rate of Regional interest will be gradual.

A synchronized global growth trend that has emerged over the past year seemed to continue, with surveys of activity in the Eurozone and the United States later in the day .

"Strong external demand and accommodating domestic monetary policy should help keep Asia's manufacturing sectors in good shape," said Krystal Tan, Asia economist at Capital Economics.

In China, manufacturing growth surprised unexpectedly in December, reaching a four-month high, due to an increase in new orders, which suggests a sustained strength in global trade. The Caixin / Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers (PMI) index rose from 50.8 in November to 51.5 last month, far exceeding economists' expectations for a decline to 50.6. The score of 50 divides the expansion of the contraction on a monthly basis.

Tuesday's survey, which pushed Asian stocks to their highest level in a decade, was somewhat at odds with a much larger official Chinese PMI poll on Sunday. It has shown a slowdown in growth against a backdrop of pollution control and measures to limit risky financing and cool down the housing market.

Analysts say the difference stems from the fact that the Caixin / PMI index follows smaller, more export-sensitive private firms.

China is expected to have grown by nearly 7% in 2017, but the world's second largest economy is expected to slow down in the New Year thanks to these measures, highlighted as political priorities at the key Communist Party Congress in October .

Beijing is expected to target 2018 growth of about 6.5%.

"We believe that a moderate slowdown in growth will be more visible in the first half of 2018, especially on the investment front, mainly because of the difficult financial conditions and the real estate market's cooldown", said economists BofA Merrill Lynch.

The slowdown in China means that for the rest of Asia, it is unlikely that the pace of rate increases will match that of the US Federal Reserve, which is growing 2 to 3 times in 2018.

There will likely be "only a few rate hikes here and there in the region over the next two years," HSBC analysts said in a note, even though they're waiting for it that Asian economies trade. In November, the Bank of Korea raised interest rates for the first time in more than six years, becoming the first Asian central bank to increase since 2014. Malaysia and the Philippines could rise this year, and Australia and New Zealand.



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