Growth on the wane
Growth slipped below 6 percent last quarter as exports and investment fell in Southeast Asia’s top economy due to global weakness, official data showed yesterday. GDP was 5.81 percent in the three months to the end of June year-on-year, below economists’ expectations, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency. This compared to 6.02 percent in the January to March quarter. The country’s trade deficit widened to US$850 million in June from US$590 million in May due to weak demand for exports, data showed this week.
Imports boost trade gap
The nation posted a US$4.98 billion trade deficit in the first seven months of the year, due to record imports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Thursday. Imports rose 10 percent compared with the same period last year to US$140 billion, while exports fell 1.5 percent to US$135.2 billion during the period. Last month alone, the country recorded a deficit of US$1.89 billion, with exports slumping 5.2 percent and imports surging 19.7 percent compared with the same month of last year.
Manufacturing on the up
Factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders last month, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing may be rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth. The Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday that its index of factory activity jumped to 55.4 in July, up from 50.9 in June. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The institute is a trade group of purchasing managers. A gauge of production soared 11.6 points to 65, the highest reading since May 2004, while a measure of hiring at factories rose to its best level in a year.
Auto sales best since 2006
Auto sales across the nation continued to accelerate, posting the best performance for July since 2006 on Thursday as consumers flocked to dealerships to replace ageing vehicles with new models at low interest rates. Total industry sales rose 14 percent from results in the same period last year, according to Autodata. The sales came in at an adjusted, annualized rate of 15.7 million units, down slightly from the 16 million posted in June but up sharply from the 14.1 million set a year ago.
Toyota enjoys profit surge
Toyota Motor Corp said yesterday net profit soared 93.6 percent in the three months to June, adding that it is on track to produce more than 10 million vehicles worldwide this year. The world’s biggest automaker earned ￥562.19 billion (US$5.64 billion) in the quarter on sales of ￥6.25 trillion, which were up 13.7 percent from a year earlier. Toyota credited a sharp decline in the yen among the factors for its improved results. The company added that it expects a net profit of ￥1.48 trillion for the fiscal year to March on sales of ￥24 trillion.
LinkedIn income up 33%
LinkedIn’s second-quarter net income rose 33 percent as the online professional networking service’s membership growth accelerated, the company said on Thursday. The Mountain View, California-based company earned US$3.7 million, or US$0.03 per share, during the quarter, from US$2.8 million, or US$0.03 per share, last year.