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More of Southeast Asia, less of China this week

Political strife in Thailand, economic data out of Indonesia and a central bank meeting in Australia should take the spotlight in Asia this week.

China takes the back seat for now with markets there closed for most of the week for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Still, the official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) released on Saturday fell to 50.5 in January from December's 51, showing that manufacturing activity slowed last month and reinforcing the view that China's economy has started 2014 on a weak note.

(Read more: China's January official PMI slips to six-month low)

"With New Year celebrations seeing the country taking a full seven days off, it would not surprise me to see the official PMI index joining the HSBC PMI index, and fall into contraction for the first time in 14 months," Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Markets said in a note.

Anti-government protesters chant slogans while preventing voting at a polling station in Thailand's general election on February 2, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Getty Images
Anti-government protesters chant slogans while preventing voting at a polling station in Thailand's general election on February 2, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The HSBC PMI for China last week slipped below the 50-mark in January that divides contraction from expansion in factory activity.

Thai turmoil

Disrupted Thai elections on Sunday put political turmoil in the Southeast Asian country back in focus at the start week.

Thai anti-government protestors have vowed to continue with their bid to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, with Sunday's poll unlikely to bring calm to months of political unrest.

(Read more: Demonstrators disregard Thai poll, vow march to oust Prime Minister)

Thailand releases January inflation data later on Monday, while December trade numbers from regional neighbor Indonesia are also on calendar.

Further signs of an improvement in Indonesia's trade balance could help the country weather the storm currently hitting emerging markets. Indonesia also releases fourth quarter growth data on Wednesday.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast Indonesia's economy grew 5.3 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 5.62 percent rise in the third quarter.

In recent weeks, currencies from Turkey to South Africa and Argentina have come under renewed pressure. Analysts say while expectations for an unwinding of U.S. monetary stimulus is hurting emerging markets in general, those countries with high debt levels or wide current account deficits remain the most vulnerable.

(Read more: Who will pay for the emerging market mess?)

Australia rate meeting

Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meets on Tuesday and is expected to keep its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 2.5 percent.

"Interest rates have already been cut to record lows and evidence continues to build that rate cuts are getting traction," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a note.

"Our assessment remains that the RBA would prefer to wait for the full impact of past rate cuts to flow through and is now more focused on achieving and maintaining a lower level for the Australian dollar," he added.

The European Central Bank and Bank of England also meet on Thursday, while on Friday HSBC releases its China services PMI and the closely-watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report is due out.

Earnings season in Asia meanwhile continues this week, with China's Baidu and Japanese firms Toyota, Panasonic and MUFG all due to unveil results.

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe;Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC

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