World Economy

This week in Asia: China, Japan and India in spotlight

People sitting on a cargo house in China.
Anthony Kwan | Getty Images

After a rough start to the new year, markets this week will be eyeing key economic data from Asia's three largest economies amid the backdrop of slumping oil prices and uncertainty in Europe.

Japan's core machinery orders, due Thursday, are seen improving for the month of November. Economists polled by Reuters forecast the leading indicator of capital spending rebounding 5 percent on month, after a decline of 6.4 percent in October.

Year-on-year, machinery orders are expected to fall 5 percent in November from a year ago, versus a 4.9 percent decline in the month before.

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In China, falls in property prices accelerated in December, the latest house price index due on Saturday is expected to show, as oversupply continued to weigh on the market.

According to a report from independent property watcher China Index Academy, the average price of a new home in China's 100 major cities was 10,542 yuan per square meter, down 0.44 percent from November. The decrease was sharper than November's 0.38 percent drop and marked the eighth straight month that prices have declined.

Also due for release this week include trade and FDI data for December.

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Meanwhile, a raft of data is expected out of India this week, with the spotlight falling on the wholesale price index (WPI) and consumer price index (CPI) for December.

Due on Monday, Reuters economists forecast CPI to accelerate to 5.4 percent in December, from 4.4 percent in November. Meanwhile, WPI, due for release Wednesday, is expected to increase 1.5 percent, compared to November's flat reading – which is the index's lowest since July 2009.

India's industrial production and trade data for the month of December will also be released this week.

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Elsewhere in Asia, Australia's unemployment rate for December is due Thursday, together with the monetary policy decision by the Bank of Korea. Most analysts expect the South Korean central bank to keep rates steady at 2 percent.

Meanwhile in the U.S., a deluge of monthly indicators including U.S. retail sales, industrial output, consumer sentiment and CPI for December is expected to leave the Fed with "plenty of scope to remain patient on interest rate hikes," noted Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital.

Could oil revisit $35?

Still watching oil

While energy prices steadied towards the end of last week, experts remain pessimistic over when the ongoing six-month slump in energy prices will end. On Friday, U.S. crude futures for February delivery settled 43 cents lower, at $48.36 a barrel while benchmark Brent crude futures dropped $2.06 a barrel to $48.90.

"There are still downside risks. If you look at what's going on now in shale oil production in the U.S., we are seeing a drop in rig counts, mining applications in places like North Dakota. So you are beginning to see some supply response coming through, but we are only 6 weeks post-OPEC. We need more [supply] adjustments before we can say we are comfortably at the bottom," Will Oswald, Global head of Fixed Income, Credit and Commodities at Standard Chartered told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box" last Friday.

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