World Economy

This week in Asia: 5 key data to watch

What's on the agenda in Asia this week

After weeks of monitoring headlines in the rest of the world, such as the wrangling over Greece's debt crisis, financial markets in Asia will likely turn their attention back home, with a flurry of economic data on tap this week.

Meanwhile, corporate earnings are starting to trickle in as Indian software giant Infosys and Singapore oil-rig builder and property developer Keppel Corp. prepare to release quarterly results in the week ahead. In Australia, investors will be eyeing Macquarie Group's annual general meeting on Thursday for clues on the company's earnings guidance and feedback on prevailing market conditions.

1. Australia: Q2 CPI

Scheduled for release on Wednesday, consumer prices down under are expected to rise 0.8 percent on-quarter in the April-June period, according to a Reuters survey, up from a 0.2 percent gain in the January quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, Australia's consumer price index (CPI) will likely increase 1.7 percent in the second quarter, the Reuters poll showed, thanks to a spike in petrol prices and higher import prices due to a weaker Australian dollar.

According to a note by AMP Capital, the inflation rate for the second quarter won't be weak enough to prompt the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to lower interest rates immediately, but there remains a "50-50" chance of a rate cut in the months ahead due to signs of inflation slowing as the year goes on.

"The combination of significant spare capacity, record low wages growth and weak pricing power according to business surveys, suggests downwards pressure on inflation," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, wrote in a note released Friday.

Greg Wood | AFP | Getty Images

2. New Zealand: Central bank decision

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will likely cut its cash rate to 3 percent on Thursday, Moody's Analytics said, in an effort to support a flagging economy beset by crumbling dairy prices and low inflation.

A month ago, the central bank lowered its cash rate by 25 basis points, but analysts are expecting more aggressive rate cuts on the back of growing economic headwinds. Data last week showed inflation rising just 0.3 percent in the year to June 30, while the latest dairy auction saw prices slump to a six-year low.

"Price pressures are muted in New Zealand and CPI only rebounded in the June quarter on higher petrol prices after two consecutive quarterly falls. Interest rate cuts are occurring to take the shine off the high New Zealand dollar and improve price competitiveness, as well as anchor moderating inflation expectations," Moody's analysts wrote in a note.

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3. Japan: Trade data

Thursday also brings Japan's June trade data and the 19 economists polled by Reuters expect exports to rise 10.0 percent from a year earlier, way above the 2.4 percent gain in May.

Meanwhile, imports are estimated to slip 4.0 percent from a year ago, down for a sixth straight month, resulting in a trade surplus of 5.40 billion yen ($43.51 million) in June, according to the Reuters survey.

5. South Korea: Q2 GDP

South Korea's growth report card due on Thursday will likely show the economy expanding 2.6 percent on-year in the June quarter, according to the forecasts of Moody's Analytics.

Last month, the country announced a financial package of more than 15 trillion won ($13 billion), including a supplementary budget, to boost growth as a deadly outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) threatened to harm the already shaky economy.

"The economy likely softened in the second quarter due to subdued exports and soft domestic demand. The MERS outbreak has hit the economy hard as consumer confidence and spending plans fell sharply in June," Moody's analysts said.

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5. China: Flash July PMI

Also scheduled for release on Thursday, China' closely-watched PMI – purchasing manager's index – will take on a new sponsor after HSBC's five-year contract came to an end and wasn't renewed.

Chinese media group Caixin, which focuses on business news, will brand the China data, saying it was part of a strategy to increase its financial information offerings.

The Caixin PMI will likely be closely watched after China's GDP last week beat expectations, spurring concerns over the accuracy of the data.