The Week Ahead: Thai Beverage, Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources

The curtain will come down on the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) earnings season for the second quarter next week. There are just three laggards left to report.

It wasn’t the best of quarters when Thai Beverage Public Company (SGX: Y92) reported in May. Earnings for the second three months fell 3.2% because of a decrease in profits at its beer business and a one-off expense for its acquisition of Havi Logistics. The brewer and distiller said that Thailand’s 2% excise tax on liquor was marginal, though.

Wilmar International (SGX: F34) was also on the ropes in May. First-quarter profits slumped 40% because of difficulties in Tropical Oils and Sugar. However, Oilseeds and Grains fared better. The farmer said a prolonged standoff between the US and China could affect the utilisation of its oilseed crushing plants.

Things were not that much better at Gold Agri-Resources (SGX: E5H), where first-quarter profits fell 68%. The company said revenue dropped 11% because of decreases in palm production and crude palm oil prices.

On the economic front, unit labour cost in the US is expected to show another increase on the previous quarter. In the first three months of 2018, it rose 2.9% from the previous three months, and 1.3% from a year ago.

China will report retail sales for July. In June, they increased 9% from a year earlier, with garments, cosmetics, jewellery and personal care performing strongly. The July growth rate is expected to remain robust at 8.6%.

Inflation in the UK is expected to have remained subdued in July. In April, May and June, the headline rate of inflation was 2.4%, which is the lowest level since March 2017. The inflation rate for July could have inched up to 2.5%.

India has inflation numbers too. It is expected to come in above the central banks target of 4%. In June, consumer prices rose to 5% from 4.8% in May. The rate of inflation in July could be 4.9%.

And the central bank of Indonesia will announce its latest interest-rate decision. After three consecutive rate hikes between April and June, it left interest rates unchanged at 5.25% in July. It is expected to sit on its hands again in August.

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