Singapore manufacturing expanded more rapidly in May, with a purchasing managers index of 51.1 up from 50.3 in April. Higher orders locally and for export contributed to the third consecutive month of gains.
Japan's global dominance in certain types of products means that a declining yen is likely to produce little pickup in overall exports, according a Credit Suisse analysis. As evidence, South Korea's May exports jumped 3.2%, unfazed by the yen's drop and demonstrating the Korea's dominance in certain product areas that differ from those of Japan.
Although competing purchasing managers indexes for China differ -- with one showing expansion and the other indicating contraction -- both gauges indicate China's economic pace is slackening, analysts say. HSBC's chief China economist says the government now must work carefully on two fronts, instituting reforms while boosting demand. But it's unclear how stimulus can be applied without inflating sectors such as real estate that are already overheating.
Moody's raised hopes that it would soon raise its credit rating of the Philippines to investment grade with remarks taking note of surprisingly strong economic and budgetary improvement. "On a year-on-year basis, the Philippines' first-quarter real GDP growth is the strongest among all rated countries in the Asia-Pacific region, outpacing larger emerging markets such as China (7.7%) and Indonesia (6%)," Moody's said.