The Philippines raises interest rates by 0.5 percent
Tencent shares are up as the tech giant talks up new revenue streams
Although Tencent posted its first revenue decline for the second quarter of this year on Thursday, the company’s shares traded in the black by 3.1% on Thursday.
Pau said there are other benefits, which included Tencent’s plans to leverage revenue from its cloud computing business.
“In the last quarter, we’re seeing that they’ve already migrated their entire business and also all their data to the cloud. So there̵[ads1]7;s a big shift in terms of data distribution,” he said.
“Tencent, by public cloud market share, is already ranked second in China, and they are going all out on international expansion,” Pau added.
No hard landing for mortgage holders, but tightening in order: NZ Reserve Bank
Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Adrian Orr said there would not be a “hard landing” for house prices as a consequence of the bank’s rate hikes – but some “belt-tightening” would be in order.
Orr told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday that the bank was not targeting house prices exclusively, but was focusing on the broader economy and aiming for stable and low inflation.
“So no, we’re in our mission is we’re trying to target house prices or asset prices. I think that’s been a misunderstanding of recent times,” Orr said.
“We’re actually relieved from a financial stability point of view that house prices have come down, we expect them to come down around 20%. Now, our estimate, but even then, that’s just bringing them back to a more sustainable level. They were extremely high under the very loose monetary policy.”
Orr also said during the recent period of low interest rates, the bank and New Zealand’s regulator worked together to ensure households’ balance sheets were in good shape.
“And so the current level of interest rates that we’ll see today as consistent with our statement is fully within that area of manageability. Now, that doesn’t mean that it won’t involve any tightening, for households, or those who have just come into the market,” he said.
Orr also said he predicted very low GDP growth for New Zealand over the next couple of years and said a recession could not be ruled out.
Indian companies report significant budget increases in ICT
More than 50% of Indian businesses have increased their information and communication technology (ICT) budgets by more than 6% in 2022 compared to last year, a survey by data firm GlobalData showed.
The rise in the use of digital and technology services was driven by the pandemic amid ongoing digital initiatives by the Indian government.
GlobalData’s India report on ICT investment trends said that approximately 56% of key IT decision makers surveyed claimed that there has been a significant (greater than 6%) increase in their ICT budget for 2022 compared to 2021. Another 34 .5% claimed that there has been a small (1% to 6%) increase in the same period.
“The upbeat corporate IT spending in India for 2022 is most likely attributable to the increasing focus on technology-led investments towards digital transformation activities such as cloud migration, automation and upgrading of legacy IT infrastructure along with favorable government policies,” said Pragyan Tarasia, technology analyst at GlobalData.
Tencent denies selling stake in food delivery giant Meituan
Tencent has refused to sell its stake in Chinese food delivery giant Meituan – but there is a good chance the tech giant could still sell some of its smaller businesses to shake off scrutiny from regulators, according to an analyst.
Like Alibaba, Tencent now faces a “concentration of power” problem, and Chinese regulators may be sniffing around to ensure smaller gaming and technology companies get a foothold in the sector and diversify.
Tencent posted its first-ever quarterly year-on-year revenue decline as tighter regulations around gaming in China and a resurgence of Covid-19 in the world’s second-largest economy hit the tech giant.
“Tencent is facing what Alibaba faced in the e-commerce market. It is the best gaming company [in China] so the government is actively trying to rein it in to give smaller developers a chance to catch up with Tencent and NetEase. And I can’t say for sure when it will end,” stock advisor Motley Fool technology specialist Leo Sun told “CNBC Capital Connection.”
“We’re really not sure what’s going to happen with Tencent. It’s not only the biggest video game company in China, but the biggest game company in the world.”
Sun said the company had already sold some of its holdings in the past, such as JD.com, and that it may look at other smaller sales.
Country Garden issues surplus notice
The Chinese developer Country Garden has sent out a profit notification which estimates that the net result for the first half of the year will fall below half of last year’s result.
It estimated net profit at between 4,500 million yuan and 5,000 million yuan ($660 million and $730 million), down from last year’s 15 billion yuan ($2.21 billion).
The company attributes the decline in profit to a decline in property sales, increased provisions for impairment for property projects and currency losses.
“The board is of the opinion that most of the above factors affecting the result were of a non-cash nature and the operations of the group are in good shape with sufficient cash available and cash flow remains stable,” the company said in a statement.
Taiwan, US to start talks on trade initiative
The US and Taiwan have agreed to start discussions on a new trade initiative, the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.
The office of the US Trade Representative said the two sides had “reached consensus on the negotiating mandate.”
“We plan to pursue an ambitious timetable to achieve high-standard commitments and meaningful results covering the eleven trade areas of the negotiating mandate that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient economy in the 21st century,” said Deputy Representative of US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said in a statement.
No mention was made of the possibility of a free trade agreement.
This follows US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent controversial visit to Taiwan. And comes on the back of Washington’s economic pivot to Asia, which led to the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which did not include Taiwan.
Coca-Cola and Grab collaborate on e-commerce initiatives
Coca-Cola and Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing and delivery app, have announced a partnership to launch and engage consumers through GrabAds.
The partnership will take place across six Southeast Asian countries, namely Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Nomura, Goldman cut China’s 2022 GDP forecasts further
Nomura cut its forecast for China’s GDP for 2022 further, from 3.3% to 2.8%, citing the latest economic data out of the country.
The latest move continues the bank’s streak of having one of the lowest calls among its peers, and reflects pessimism over Beijing’s growth target of around 5.5%. In July, Chinese authorities indicated that the country may miss its GDP target for the year.
Nomura credits worsening downturns in the current business cycle, as well as China facing its worst heat wave in years, which could slow growth in the third quarter.
Goldman Sachs also lowered its forecast to 3% from 3.3% – citing the latest data showing a slowdown in demand and weak credit growth. The report also emphasized the pull from the downturn in the property sector.
The forecast cuts come after the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut two interest rates on Monday – its medium-term policy loan and a short-term liquidity tool – for the second time this year.
– Jihye Lee
Australian unemployment rate falls again, to 48-year low
Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in July, the lowest since 1974, according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It fell from 3.5% in June.
– The fall in unemployment in July reflects an increasingly tight labor market, including high vacancies and ongoing labor shortages, resulting in the lowest unemployment rate since August 1974, said Bjørn Jarvis.
“In July, there were fewer unemployed (474,000) than there were vacancies (480,000 in May).”
A tighter labor market could lead to further demand and inflation as well as further interest rate increases.
In the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting minutes this week, the bank said “employment growth could be stronger than expected and strong household balance sheets could support household consumption more than expected”.
– Su-Lin Tan
CNBC Pro: Top tech investor Paul Meeks reveals why he thinks PayPal is a buy
PayPal has lost almost half of its market value this year – despite a strong rise in the last month.
But top tech investor Paul Meeks remains a fan of the online payments giant. He tells CNBC Pro Talks why he thinks the stock is a buy.
Professional subscribers can read the story here.
— Zavier Ong
CNBC Pro: Goldman says planned energy transition drives valuations, picks ‘best-in-class’ stocks
The energy efficiency that companies implement will become increasingly important for investors, according to Goldman Sachs.
“Carbon is increasingly becoming a factor influencing stock selection and stock valuation, driven by increasing regulatory pressure and net zero investment strategies,” the investment bank wrote in a recent report from August.
Goldman identified buy-rated companies that rank well on their reductions in energy use, and where it says energy efficiency will play a key role in the companies’ long-term competitive position.
Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Weizhen Tan
Chinese power outages continue in Sichuan, Yangtze
China is battling a power outage in the Yangtze River region, which is experiencing a record heat wave.
Peak temperatures have disrupted crop growth and threatened livestock.
China’s southwestern province of Sichuan is also rationing power amid blackouts that have swept through homes and businesses.
The latest outages were reminiscent of last year’s major blackout that engulfed many of China’s main manufacturing hubs, particularly in the south, such as Guangdong.
The blackout had contributed to a slowdown in GDP growth in the third quarter of the year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said at the time. It said power rationing in parts of China had affected “normal production”.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng visited the State Grid Corporation on Wednesday and called for more efforts to strengthen power supply to residents and key industries, a state media report said.
The Fed plans to raise interest rates to a “restrictive” level, minutes show
The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting show that central bankers plan to continue raising interest rates to bring down inflation.
“With inflation remaining well above the Committee’s target, participants judged that a shift to restrictive policy was necessary to fulfill the Committee’s legislative mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability,” the minutes said.
The Fed has increased by three quarters of a percentage point at each of the last two meetings. However, the central bank signaled that it may slow that pace in the coming months as the historically large moves take full effect.
“Participants believed that as monetary policy tightens further, it will probably be appropriate at some point to slow the pace of policy rate increases while assessing the effects of cumulative policy adjustments on economic activity and inflation,” the minutes say.
Some of the meeting participants indicated that the Fed should keep interest rates at a restrictive level “for a while” even after slowing the hikes.
The minutes also showed that the Fed is concerned that inflation and the economic environment could worsen from here.
“Uncertainty about the course of inflation over the medium term remained high, and the balance of inflation risks remained skewed to the upside, with several participants highlighting the possibility of further supply shocks from commodity markets,” the minutes said. “Participants saw the risks to the outlook for real GDP growth as primarily on the downside.”