The week in Asia kicks off with an anniversary, an election and PANDA-monium.
Hong Kong on Sunday celebrates its tenth year back under Chinese jurisdiction. The territory will also be holding elections for the highly coveted post of Chief Executive. The two candidates running for the job – incumbent Donald Tsang and Alan Leong of the Civic Party. Tsang is widely expected to retain his position as Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
And while it’s tradition to mark a ten-year anniversary with a tin or aluminum gift, China has decided to honor Hong Kong’s decade by gifting the city with a pair of pandas. No doubt the newly elected Chief Executive will make an effort to welcome the furry newcomers to their urban jungle, albeit after handling the release of February’s trade figures due out Monday.
Up in the northern hemisphere, Spring weather isn’t in sight yet. Perhaps a little insight from the release of the Bank of Japan’s February meeting minutes Monday (March 26) will bring in the sunshine as analysts look to see if global criticism really did pressure the BOJ to raise their interest rates by 25 basis points to 0.5%. BOJ governor Toshihiko Fukui said monetary policy would remain accommodative to support economic recovery and that any further tightening would be gradual.
Other data being released this week in the U.S. – new home sales figures, consumer confidence, durable goods orders and initial jobless claims for the week ending March 24. The highlight of the U.S. data release – fourth-quarter GDP out Thursday (March 29) – Barclays Capital expects the preliminary 2.2% fourth-quarter GDP growth figure to be unrevised in the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s final report.
On the Asian earnings front, the calendar proves plentiful with China Resources and Australia’s Coles Group posting first-half results on Sunday. Other companies reporting earnings include: