Accessibility links

Asia Business: The Week in Review - 2004-05-31


Hong Kong property developers are aggressively snatching up land, while electronics exports are buoying Singapore and Malaysia.

Large and small property developers demonstrated confidence in Hong Kong's housing market as the government held its first land auction in nearly two years.

Two lots of land sold for a total of about $380 million, far above the initial asking price.

Analysts like Edmond Lee, a strategist for Sun Hung Kai Financial Group, saw the enthusiastic bidding as a sign that Hong Kong's property market is recovering from a six-and-a-half-year-long slump.

"Under the economic recovery people will see that now is the time to go into the property market or buy property shares," says Mr. Lee.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's economy grew a stronger-than-expected 6.8 percent in the first quarter, mostly due to consumer spending.

There was positive economic news in Southeast Asia, too. Singapore's factory output last month rose 21 percent, more than double expectations. The city-state is enjoying a surge in trade with China and rising global demand for consumer electronics goods.

Malaysia's first-quarter gross domestic product was 7.6 percent higher than a year ago, beating expectations. Electronics exports drove the strongest expansion in nearly four years.

And the Philippines, bolstered by the farm sector, experienced its biggest expansion in more than a decade, with GDP growth of eight percent compared to last year.

Imports from Southeast Asian countries are tempting Japanese consumers to spend, helping Japan's overall economic recovery. Imports rose to a record high last month, of about $35 billion.

China is facing a problem of economic growth that is too rapid, threatening inflation and instability. In Guangzhou, China's southern business capital, the building of a new subway line has been postponed as part of the government's attempt to slow the economy. Construction was due to start last week.

XS
SM
MD
LG