Home Smart Commentary Smart Look At The Week Ahead: UOB, OCBC, Wilmar And Sembcorp Industries

Smart Look At The Week Ahead: UOB, OCBC, Wilmar And Sembcorp Industries

The US market will be closed on Monday for Washington’s Birthday. So, we and the rest of the world will have to fly solo for a day.

Here in Singapore, banks could take centre stage next week after DBS Group (SGX: D05) had set a high bar for the other two listed lenders to follow. In the fourth quarter, Singapore’s biggest bank posted a 14% jump in net profit.

Both United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) will step forward with their numbers for the final quarter of their financial years. In November, UOB said net interest income improved 5% even though net interest margin fell 0.04% to 1.77%.

It was a different story at OCBC that reported a 6% drop in third-quarter profit. Singapore’s second-largest bank commented that a one-time charge in Indonesia overshadowed higher lending and wealth management income.

In November, Wilmar International (SGX: F34) said third-quarter profit jumped 10.7% on a better showing in tropical oils and oilseeds, and grains businesses. There was also a slight improvement in its sugar division. The farmer said it expected most of its operations to continue to do well in the coming quarter.

Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96) posted a 13% drop in third-quarter earnings in November. At the time, the industrial conglomerate said its performance was crimped by higher finance costs at its marine and energy businesses.

Japanese contraction

On the economic front, the People’s Bank of China will announce its latest interest rate decision. In January, it left the Loan Prime Rate unchanged at 4.15%. But the central bank is expected to cut the cost of borrowing to 3.95% this time.

Indonesia will also announce its latest interest-rate decision. Bank Indonesia, which left interest rates unchanged at its January meeting, could do the same this time.

Japan is expected to report a sharp contraction in economic growth in the October to December quarter. The fourth quarter could have been hurt by sluggish overseas demand and lower consumer spending as a result of the sales tax hike lst year.

Thailand’s economy could have slowed in the fourth quarter of 2019, too. It could announce the slowest annual growth rate for five years of just 2.4%. Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy could have been affected by the Sino-US trade war.

Malaysia will report inflation numbers for January. It could say that consumer prices edged up from 1% to 1.2%, which would be the fastest rate of price rises for five months.

And finally, Singapore will report inflation numbers too. Core inflation could have edged up from 0.7% to 0.9%, whilst the headline rate could have crept higher from 0.8% to 0.9%.

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Disclosure: David Kuo owns shares in DBS Group, UOB and OCBC.