Asian firms’ capex to shrink in 2023, first since ’15 – data

Asian companies will slow investment sharply this year, deterred by soaring interest rates and fears of deepening recession, and budgets will on average fall next year, the first contraction since 2015, data showed.

Capital spending at large and mid-cap Asian companies is expected to grow 6.4 per cent in 2022 and slip 0.7 per cent in 2023, compared with a 13 per cent rise last year, according to Refinitiv data.

GRAPHIC: Capex change at Asian companies’%20capital%20expenditures.jpg'%20capital%20expenditures.jpg

Companies globally are grappling with rising costs of raw material, labour and logistics as China’s COVID-19 related lockdowns have further strained supply chains and the Ukraine war has pushed up energy prices. Businesses have sounded caution over slowing consumer demand.

Some sectors are expected to cut spending more aggressively.

Capital expenditure (capex) for Asian autos and their component suppliers is expected to plunge 16.5 per cent this year although it may rise 2.1 per cent in the next.

The region’s tech firms, which will still spend 8 per cent more than they did last year to catch the last of the demand generated by the pandemic, are expected to cut spending by 3 per cent next year.

Spending by consumer discretionary firms is expected to fall 7.8 per cent in 2022 and rise 3.3 per cent in 2023.

GRAPHIC: Capex change by industry

“There are increases in parts of Asia tech hardware – especially mature foundries – and capex is high for utilities or manufacturing firms that invest in changing their businesses,” said Herald van der Linde, head of HSBC’s Asia Pacific equity strategy.

Utilities and industrial firms are expected to boost capex this year by 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Budget cuts will also vary by country, with data showing Malaysia and China making the deepest cuts at 12.1 per cent and 4.68 per cent respectively.

GRAPHIC: Capex change by country

Source: Reuters