Asian economies suffer fall in business sentiment

Aisan EconomyThe combination of persistent global economic uncertainty and soaring costs continues to weigh on business sentiment among Asian companies, a fresh survey revealed.

The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index slipped from 66 in the third quarter to 62 in the fourth quarter of this year. It was the lowest business sentiment reading since the third quarter of 2012.

However, the reading was still well above the threshold mark of 50. It may be noted here a reading of above 50 stands for an overall positive outlook.

While the economies of China and India scored 75 and 82, respectively, on the business sentiment index; political turbulence in Thailand dragged the country's sentiment down to 40, while the recent typhoon in the Philippines dragged it down to 58. The figures marked the lowest readings for both countries since 2009.

Shanghai-based Southwest Securities' Zhang Shiyuan said, "The global economic recovery is still very fragile. There is a fundamental problem that there's still too much debt. It's a time bomb that may be detonated if monetary and fiscal policies don't co-ordinate well."

The region's car sector suffered the steepest decline in business sentiment, tumbling from 63 in the third quarter to 33 in the fourth quarter.

The above mentioned figures were based on a survey of more than one hundred top companies of the Asia-Pacific region's 11 economies, across sectors including technology, property and financials, between Dec. 2 and Dec.