With the Christmas holiday approaching, the economic data calendar has started to lighten, but investors still have plenty to mull over as oil prices continue to fluctuate. In Asia, a flurry of monthly indicators from Japan could provide some insight into the state of the world's third largest economy.
Nippon health check
In Japan, inflation, household spending, jobs numbers and retail sales for the month of November are scheduled for release ahead of trade opening on Friday.
A Reuters poll of 26 economists forecast the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI) – which excludes volatile food prices – to rise 2.7 percent in November from a year ago, a tick lower than 2.9 percent in October. However, if adjusted for an increase in the sales tax hike that took effect in the second quarter, core consumer prices likely rose 0.7 percent on-year, below October's 0.9 percent rise and well below the 2 percent target the Bank of Japan (BOJ) aims to achieve by April 2015, according to the poll.
Household spending could decline for an eighth straight month, but the expected fall of 3.8 percent on-year will be an improvement from October's 4 percent tumble. However, month-on-month, spending is expected to increase 0.2 percent, down from a 0.9 percent rise in the previous month, the poll found.
Meanwhile, retail sales could rise 1.1 percent on year, slower than October's 1.4 percent increase, the poll found.
"Japan's November data will show the economy continues to underperform," analysts from Moody's Analytics wrote in a note. "Workers' household expenditure has been flat to slightly negative since the consumption tax increase on April 1. Real incomes are falling and sentiment remains depressed."