Asia braces for China data deluge

What you need to take note this week
What's on the agenda this week in Asia   

Critical data from the world's second-largest economy will likely be the center of attention for market players this week, with first-quarter growth domestic product (GDP), March retail sales, industrial output and fixed asset investment (FAI) slated for release on Wednesday.

Twenty-five economists surveyed by Reuters expect GDP to rise an annual 7.3 percent, which would mark China's slowest pace of growth since 2009 and come in well below the 7.7 percent reading in the final quarter of 2013.

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"We expect Q1 GDP growth to slow to 7.3 percent year-on-year largely due to moderately tight credit conditions. However, real activities will likely accelerate, as industrial production growth rose to 9.5 percent on-year. Year-to-date FAI growth will come in higher at 18.2 percent on-year, and retail sales growth is seen normalized to 12.7 percent on-year," said economists at Citi in a research note.

However, unlike in 2009, it appears Beijing will not release a stimulus package to shore up growth.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Last week, Premier Li Keqiang said the government won't be taking any short-term easing measures to combat economic volatility. One day later, the vice governor of the People's Bank of China said that officials should be careful in implementing stimulus measures since they are less efficient than natural market forces in boosting growth.

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On Monday, Singapore's economy was in the spotlight after releasing an advanced reading of first-quarter GDP. The city-state grew an annual 5.1 percent in the first three months of the year, in line with estimates but slower than the 5.5 percent on-year expansion in the final quarter of 2013.

Following the data, the Singaporean dollar inched down 0.3 percent against the greenback, retreating from last week's five-month high.

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Elsewhere, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's latest policy meeting are expected on Tuesday.

"The minutes will likely confirm the RBA's neutral bias on rates for now but will be looked at closely for signs of concern about surging house prices and the strengthening Australian dollar and hence for any renewed jawboning on either. Dwelling starts will likely show a solid bounce reflecting the lagged response to rising building approvals seen through last year," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital.

Many regional markets will be shut on Friday for the Good Friday holidays, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines.