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Asia looks to China PMIs, central banks this week

This photo shows workers producing clothes in a factory in Huaibei, east China's Anhui province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
This photo shows workers producing clothes in a factory in Huaibei, east China's Anhui province.

China should remain the key focus for markets this week, with the release of key manufacturing activity data.

The closely-watched reports come on the heels of a roller-coaster ride in the benchmark Shanghai Composite. Last Thursday, mainland shares dived 6.5 percent, posting its biggest one-day loss since January 19, after news that more brokerages are tightening margin lending rules sparked concerns over the retail investor-driven rally. Investors also took profit ahead of this week's tranche of new share-listings.

On Friday, the Shanghai bourse ended an erratic session 0.15 percent lower.

China twin PMIs

Monday's separate readings of China's May factory activity from the government and HSBC showed a pick-up in pace.

The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 50.2 from 50.1 in April, in line with the forecast from a Reuters poll, and above the 50-mark separating expansion from contraction.

The final HSBC PMI print, which focuses on small and medium sized enterprises, stayed in contraction for a third month at 49.2, but beat the 49.1 figure in April.

Read MoreIs Australia done with rate cuts?

Central banks, GDP

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is expected to leave its cash rate steady at a record low of 2 percent on Tuesday, following two 25-basis-point rate cuts earlier this year.

All 24 economists polled by Reuters expect the RBA to be on hold, but eight respondents say interest rates could be reduced to 1.75 percent or lower by December, if non-mining business investments remain subdued.

"We expect the RBA to be on hold in coming months as it watches the impact of cuts already delivered this year, as well as monitor the impact of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's (APRA) tightening measures on the financial cycle and hopes for a lower Australian dollar," HSBC analysts wrote in a note.

The APRA stepped up on lending standards last week, unveiling a review of bank lending standards for property investors, as lower interest rates stoke growth in lending among housing investors.

Australia's growth report card is also on tap this week and could see the economy growing at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter. According to a survey by Reuters, gross domestic product (GDP) for the January-March period could rise 2.0 percent on-year, falling short of an annual 2.50 percent in the preceding quarter.

Meanwhile, India's central bank also meets on Tuesday and is expected to lower its main repo rate to 7.25 percent from 7.5 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

Easing inflation will be the impetus for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to pull off its third rate cut of the year, experts say.

Read MoreIndia's growth trumps China, but data questioned

"Core inflation has moderated, suggesting that the momentum in the real economy is fading. The production impulse has been weak in recent months, while credit growth has failed to take off," analysts from Moody's Analytics wrote in a note. "With the economy operating under a negative output gap, and monetary policy is still relatively tight, we believe the RBI should ease pressure by cutting rates."

Other data due this week include May trade figures and revised first-quarter GDP print from South Korea.

Scheduled for release on Thursday, Asia's fourth-largest economy likely grew 0.8 percent on-quarter in the January-March period, according to estimates from Moody's. The forecast is unchanged from the government's earlier prediction and much higher than the December quarter's 0.3 percent expansion.