Business sentiment among Asia’s top companies fell for the second straight quarter, dragged down by export-orientated economies such as China and Japan, while domestic spending helped boost Southeast Asia's outlook, a Thomson Reuters/INSEAD survey showed.
The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index fell to 62 in the third quarter from 69 in the second quarter of 2012, having peaked at 80 in the first quarter of 2011. A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook, while one below 50 points to pessimism.
Indian companies were more positive than they were in the previous quarter. Sentiment may have been lifted further last week by government reforms aimed at reviving growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, including opening up its supermarket sector to foreign chains.
China recorded its weakest level of sentiment since the survey began in 2009. It showed firms on the cusp between pessimism and optimism with a reading of 50, down from 55 in the second quarter, suggesting they are seeing little lift so far from various measures put in place by Beijing.