Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is Singapore’s economy championing Asia’s growth?

Is Singapore’s economy championing Asia’s growth?

Asian stocks rose after Singapore's economy grew faster than economists had expected after gross domestic product jumped an annualized 6.4 percent after adjusting for inflation, the 14th straight quarter of growth, according to the trade ministry. Economists were expecting a 5.1 percent gain.

Benchmarks in China, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore were also set for new highs, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.3 percent to 17,217.53.

Honda, Japan's second-largest automaker rose 0.8 percent to 4,050 yen. Samsung Electronics, South Korea's biggest exporter added 1.9 percent to 547,000 won. Yue Yuen Industrial, the biggest maker of athletic shoes for Nike and Adidas, gained 0.8 percent to HK$25 in Hong Kong. DBS Group added 0.5 percent to S$22.70. Keppel Land, Singapore's third-largest property developer gained 1.8 percent to S$8.70.

The city-state's $134 billion economy grew at an annualized 6.4 percent pace in the third quarter, the trade ministry said . That's faster than the 5.1 percent rate forecast by economists.

“The economic growth number is positive, especially for companies that generate income here,'' said Thue Isen, of Bankinvest Group in Singapore.

Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia's largest telephone company, added 1 percent to S$4.18. Citigroup raised its share-price estimate for Singapore Telecommunications by 13 percent to S$4.40.

Shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China's biggest lender, gained after its equity fund venture with Credit Suisse Group was approved. ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management received regulatory approval to start investing overseas under China's qualified domestic institutional investor, or QDII, program, the company said.

Can Singapore lead Asia’s economic charge?