For Asia, BOJ and China data in driver's seat

What to watch out for this week

A central bank decision in Japan and second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) from China will be the key events in Asia this week.


The week begins in Southeast Asia with economic data from Singapore and India.

Singapore's advance second-quarter GDP rose an annual 2.1 percent, missing a Reuters forecast for a 3.1 percent increase, due to a slide in manufacturing output and weakness in the services sector.

Next up is India's wholesale price inflation (WPI) for June. After prices soared to a five-month high of 6 percent on year in May, Moody's Analytics expects WPI slowed to 5.6 percent in June.

"Core inflation has risen in recent months, while food inflation has eased. We expect these trends to continue for several more months and for wholesale price index growth to hold near 5 percent before an expected acceleration in food prices later in the year," the firm said in a note.

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The Bank of Japan is expected to leave monetary policy unchanged at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Tuesday. The decision is expected around 11am SIN/HK.

HSBC's Japan economist, Izumi Devalier, does not expect further easing at least until April of next year. In a report, she writes that central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda's recent remarks suggest the central bank will stick with current policy settings, even if consumer price inflation slows to 1 percent over the coming summer months, as long as inflation resumes its gradual acceleration in the second half.

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Australia's central bank will also be in focus Tuesday with minutes from its July policy meeting due.

Trades on the Australian dollar will be closely watched before the release given Governor Steven's concern over the "historically high" currency, as stated in previous speeches.

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The day will be dominated by a deluge of Chinese data points, including growth figures for the April-June quarter and fixed asset investment (FAI) for the first half, alongside June retail sales and industrial production.

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A Reuters poll shows second-quarter annual growth at 7.4 percent, unchanged from the first-quarter, while Societe Generale expects an improvement to 7.5 percent. The bank cited four straight months of stronger factory activity and a rebound in second-quarter export growth to justify their stance.

FAI is widely expected to remain unchanged from the first five months of the year at 17.2 percent. Retail sales for June are seen rising 12.2 percent on year, according to Moody's Analytics, a touch below May's 12.5 percent rise. Growth in industrial production meanwhile is seen increasing 8.8 percent on year, unchanged from May.


Finally, the week ends with China's June house price index and investors are bracing for a weak result given weakness in recent price data.

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A report from Soufun, a private data provider that monitors property prices in 100 cities, showed that average residential property price contracted a monthly 0.5 percent in June, more than double the pace of declines in May.

"The dark cloud of the housing downturn is likely to hover over the economy for a while longer. In such a scenario, we hardly expect any sustained or sizable growth acceleration," said economists at Societe Generale in a note.