China data may escalate global growth woes

The agenda for Asia this week
The agenda for Asia this week   

Soft data from the world's second-largest economy could exacerbate global growth woes and weigh on markets this week.

Chinese foreign trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), consumer prices and producer prices for September are due and may raise debate about whether Beijing needs to implement additional stimulus measures.

Last week, global equity markets saw heavy selling after weak German factory output and exports sparked concerns over the euro zone's sluggish recovery. If China's monthly data deluge misses forecasts, risk-off sentiment will likely continue.

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Data breakdown

On Monday, data from China showed exports grew at a much stronger than expected pace in September, while imports also rose, beating expectations of a decline.

Exports surged 15.3 percent in September from the year-ago period, beating the 11.8 percent gain expected in a Reuters poll and after rising 9.4 percent in August.

Imports also unexpectedly rose 7 percent, versus forecasts for a decline of 2.7 percent and following a fall of 2.4 percent in August.

But the country's trade surplus narrowed by a much bigger than expected margin, coming in at$31 billion from a record high of $49.8 billion in August. Analysts were expected a reading of $41 billion.

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Investors are now looking ahead of other data due later in the week, including inflation numbers on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI) is expected to rise 1.7 percent on year, according to estimates from National Australia Bank - slower than August's 2 percent gain, which was a four-month low.

Producer prices will likely remain mired in deflationary territory, expected to decline for the 31st consecutive month.

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"Inflation pressures in China remain weak. Increased food supplies have pushed food prices down. The slowing housing market is resulting in steady disinflation in housing costs. These factors remained in place in September. A rebound in inflation is not expected until the government starts a broader easing campaign," Moody's Analytics said.

Foreign direct investment on Tuesday could continue to show weakness after hitting an over two-year low in August, with analysts citing a cooling property market and the yuan's recent appreciation as key hindrances.

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Elsewhere in the region

India will release its consumer price index (CPI) and wholesale prices reports for September this week.

"We expect CPI inflation to ease to 7.1 percent in September from 7.8 percent last month on a combination of favorable base effect and partial normalization in vegetable prices," said economists at Citi Asia in a note.

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Singapore will post advance estimates for third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) on Tuesday as well as announcing the central bank's semi-annual monetary policy decision. Citi expects headline GDP growth to show a sequential expansion of 0.8 percent on quarter, following the marginal 0.1 percent expansion in the second-quarter.

According to Reuters, most economists expect the bank to maintain its policy of allowing a "modest and gradual" strengthening of the Singapore dollar to guard against inflation.