Brace yourself Asia, it’s going to be a busy week

Forget China GDP, investors should focus on this

There's no let-up for Asia this week with a plethora of potentially market-moving economic data and events on the calendar.

China sets the tone for the week, releasing the closely-watched growth figures earlier on Monday.

Gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2013 came in at 7.7 percent from the year-ago period, a tad better than the 7.6 forecast by Reuters. This brings full-year growth to 7.7 percent, and compares to the 7.5 percent target set by the government.

In other data, industrial output for December came in at 9.7 percent from the year earlier, compared with a Reuters forecast of 9.8 percent. Retails sales were up an annual 13.6 percent in the month, in line with expectations.

(Read more: Global economy at a turning point: World Bank)

The flash HSBC purchasing managers index (PMI) released on Thursday meanwhile should provide investors with a snapshot of manufacturing activity in China this month.

Two women sell goods on a bridge in Shanghai.
Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

South Korea also releases an advanced estimate of its fourth quarter GDP data on Thursday, while central banks in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines meet this week. There's also earning results from big corporates including the Singapore Exchange, India's Larsen & Toubro and South Korea's Samsung Electronics.

"Early week, China will grab the spotlight with the Q4 GDP release alongside monthly industrial, investment and retail sales data announcements for December," analysts at Mizuho Corporate Bank said in a note. "Mid-week, focus shifts to the Bank of Japan decision, which will be marked by policy inaction."

Central bank time

Indeed, regional markets will have plenty to chew on Thursday, with South Korea releasing an advanced estimate of its fourth-quarter GDP numbers, while the Philippine central bank also meets.

The Bank of Japan is not expected to make any significant changes to its monetary policy when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday. Still, there could be focus on what it says about the outlook given signs of strength in Japan's economy and some speculation that monetary stimulus could be ramped up ahead of a rise in the sales tax in April.

(Read more: Japan's Abe suffers setback with Okinawa election loss)

Thailand is also in the spotlight as economists try to assess the damage political turmoil in the Southeast Asian state is having on the economy.

The Bank of Thailand meets on Wednesday and there is some talk of rate cut to buffer the economy, while December export are also due later in the week.

"Despite our forecast for a policy hold, the chances of a rate cut are increasing," Mizuho said. "If indeed the BoT cuts rates, this will reflect the intensifying protests in Bangkok."

(Read more: We don't mind losing 'fair elections:' Abhist)

In Australia, inflation data for the December quarter are due out on Wednesday amid growing talk about whether the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will cut interest rates soon following last week's weaker-than-expected jobs data.

"Underlying inflation is expected to be 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter or 2.3 percent year-on-year," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, in a note.

"If we are right and inflation remains at the low end of the RBA's [2-3 percent] target range then it will provide plenty of scope for the RBA to keep rates low, albeit it will unlikely be low enough to justify another rate cut," he added.

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