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China PMI, BOJ time for Asia this week

Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 | 8:04 PM ET
What you need to keep an eye on this week
Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 | 5:05 PM ET
From the Fed minutes to China's HSBC flash factory data, CNBC's Deirdre Wang Morris highlights what you should be watching out later this week.

Attention in Asia this week is likely to turn to the release of HSBC's flash China purchasing managers' index (PMI) for February and a meeting of the Bank of Japan.

It's also budget time for India and Singapore, while the minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's February meeting, trade data from Hong Kong and earnings results from miner BHP Billiton are also on the calendar.

(Read more: China January lending soars to 4-year high)

The HSBC flash PMI for February is out on Thursday and is likely to be in focus after it fell to a six-month low of 49.5 in January, suggesting China's economy got off to a weak start this year.

"In China, the flash HSBC manufacturing conditions PMI is expected to remain around the 50 level," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a note, referring to the 50-mark that divides contraction from expansion.

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He added that he did not expect the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to make any changes to monetary policy when it meets on Tuesday.

For almost a year now, Japan's central bank has pumped money into the economy to kick-start growth and end a period of deflation.

Last month, the BOJ kept its monetary policy steady and said it remained positive about its outlook for consumer inflation.

(Read more: Australia's jobs picture is getting uglier)

Data released on Monday showed Japan's economy grew 0.3 percent in the final quarter of the year, from the previous one, below market expectations for a 0.7 percent rise.

Another central bank that could be in focus this week is the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which on Tuesday releases the minutes from its last meeting.

The RBA left interest rates on hold at its meeting earlier this month but removed an "easing bias" from its statement, sparking a huge rally in the Australian dollar. Since then weak jobs data has blurred the prospect of potential tightening by the central bank.

Japan's GDP miss was expected: UOB
Alvin Liew, senior economist at UOB, says weak exports and machinery orders weighed on Japan's fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP).

"As the minutes pre-date the RBA's more comprehensive Statement on Monetary Policy, they are unlikely to contain any major surprises," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.

"Nevertheless, we will still be perusing them for additional information on the RBA's recent shift to a more neutral stance," they added.

Budget time

It's budget time with India's finance minister presenting an interim budget for the coming fiscal year later on Monday.

The backdrop for the budget is a slowing economy, high inflation and a looming election.

(Read more: Higher wealth taxes on the cards for Singapore)

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is expected to woo voters with more cash for health, rural jobs, roads and food subsidies, according to media reports.

The week will end with a budget in Singapore that is expected to focus on health-care subsidies and benefits for Singapore's seniors, also known as the pioneer generation.

Writing by CNBC's Dhara Ranasinghe. Follow her on Twitter at @DharaCNBC

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