What to watch in Asia today
Events: India’s Supreme Court is expected to begin hearing applications challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution, which bestowed special status on the then state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2019, India reorganised the Muslim-majority area as two directly administered territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India Couture Week 2023, organised by the Fashion Design Council of India and Hyundai India, concludes in Delhi.
Indicators: South Korea’s July consumer price index is expected to show that inflation slowed further and is likely to drop to 1.8 per cent by the end of the year. Bank of Thailand is expected to raise its policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.25 per cent. Fitch analysts said the increase reflects the central bank’s recent “hawkish rhetoric” despite a sharp decline in price pressures. New Zealand releases the latest employment data, Australia provides a services purchasing managers’ index update and Singapore issues a manufacturing PMI.
Companies: China’s Kweichow Moutai and India’s Bharti Airtel release quarterly figures.
Markets: Futures in Tokyo and Hong Kong pointed lower on Wednesday morning. US stocks declined on Tuesday after economic data suggested that elevated interest rates were weighing on the economy. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 per cent lower, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.4 per cent.
Fitch cuts US credit rating and warns of ‘fiscal deterioration’
The US’s credit rating has been cut to double A plus from triple A, in an unexpected blow to the world’s biggest economy by Fitch.
The rating agency said its downgrade “reflects the expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, a high and growing general government debt burden, and the erosion of governance . . . over the last two decades that has manifested in repeated debt limit standoffs and last-minute resolutions”.
The US narrowly avoided a default just weeks ago, with the federal borrowing limit lifted at the eleventh hour after months of tension over spending cuts.
Tinder parent Match Group shares surge on rosy outlook and user growth
Tinder parent Match Group’s shares jumped 11.6 per cent in after-market trading after the online dating company forecast better than expected revenue for the current quarter, as its marketing campaign aimed at Gen Z attracts new users and helps boost revenue.
The Dallas-based company forecast third-quarter revenue in the range of $875mn to $885mn, exceeding analysts’ expectations of $863.8mn and an 8-9.3 per cent increase from the year-ago quarter.
Match Group’s pricing optimisation and new Tinder marketing campaign, “It Starts with a Swipe”, “yielded both revenue acceleration and improved user trends”, the company said.
Donald Trump indicted over 2020 election interference probe
US prosecutors have charged Donald Trump in connection with attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the second federal indictment brought against the former president in as many months.
Trump was charged with four criminal counts including conspiracy to defraud the US, to obstruct an official proceeding and to threaten individual rights, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday.
The Department of Justice’s indictment stems from a probe led by special counsel Jack Smith into alleged meddling in the results of the 2020 election and attempts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Read more about the Trump indictment
Starbucks rides China rebound and pricier drinks to record revenue and profit
Starbucks reported record revenues and profits beat analysts’ expectations in the coffee chain’s latest quarter, helped by higher prices for its beverages and a recovery in the Chinese market.
Comparable store sales rose 10 per cent globally in the company’s third quarter, missing forecasts for 11.8 per cent.
In China, comparable store sales rose 46 per cent from a year ago, with stores back to standard operations after zero-Covid policies in 2022 forced it to close outlets or pause services in its second-largest market.
Starbucks reported revenue of $9.2bn in its third quarter, a record, but below Wall Street forecasts for $9.3bn. Earnings of 99 cents a share topped forecasts and were up 20 cents from a year ago.