Surprises in Asia

Just a month ago, it appeared China was righting the ship economically. At the same time, there appeared to be some creeping concerns regarding Singapore. What a difference a matter of weeks can make.

Chinese exports for September came in well below the expected gains, with a 0.3% decline for the month, according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs. With problems still somewhat apparent in markets like the European Union and Brazil, the confidence-jarring government shutdown in the United States could fuel another disappointing month for trade out of export-dependent China in October, if not beyond.

On the flip side, news out of Singapore was much more positive and quite bit surprising. Third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was more than 5% better than the same period in 2012. The improvement came largely on the back of exporting activity. Wells Fargo Securities Global Economist Jay Bryson said the news was significant because Singapore, often one of the first nations globally to report its quarterly data, is somewhat of a “bellwether for trends in global trade.” The Wells Fargo report predicted that any sustained growth in the improving export activity out of the nation would likely foster itself into noticeable improvements to lackluster consumer spending there.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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