Asia's biggest companies remain optimistic

09 December 2009

BEIJING: Many of the biggest companies in Asia expect their revenues to continue to rise despite the financial crisis, with automakers and electronics firms among the most optimistic, research from Reuters shows.

According to the news and information specialist, of the 100 largest corporations in the region, 38 said their short-term outlook was either "positive" or "very positive", up from 31 during the last quarter.

The number of organisations with a "negative" or "very negative" rating also fell from 22 to 17 over the same period, while the remaining 45 members of this group predicted their figures will remain solid.

For the year to date, the markets in China and Indonesia have risen by 70% and 80% respectively, compared with the uptick of 18% delivered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

During the last 30 days, discretionary expenditure has also grown by an estimated 5.8% in Asia, including a jump of 15.5% in the auto segment, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine show.

In-keeping with this trend, Toyota, the Japanese automotive company, posted an unexpected quarterly profit in its most recent reporting period.

While the consumer electronics industry has been hit heavily by the recession in many areas, Robert Yi, head of Samsung Electronics, the South Korean giant, has also sounded a new note of positivity.

"We expect the global economic recovery to drive demand growth of most IT and consumer electric products ... we are cautiously forecasting our 2010 profitability may improve on 2009," he forecast.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, among the major players in the financial sector, similarly stated that the situation regarding "bad debts" in the country appears to be increasingly favourable.

As previously reported, retail sales also rose slightly in Australia during the penultimate quarter of this year, helped in part by the government's financial stimulus package.

Markus Rosgen, Asia Pacific equity research strategist at Citibank, said that, overall, "the biggest takeaway from Q3 is that things are becoming more stable. The commentary from companies is that they are getting more optimistic."

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by Warc staff