Will it or won't it?
The question that central-bank watchers and investors have been asking may finally see an answer this week, when the Federal Reserve's rate-setting Open Market Committee meets for a 2-day meeting on Wednesday.
According to a poll by Reuters in August, the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise short-term interest rates as early as September, having not raised rates since 2006 while maintaining them at near zero.
But an abrupt devaluation of the yuan by Chinese authorities in August and renewed turmoil in global financial markets have had some market watchers paring back their forecasts. The World Bank's chief economist has joined Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in warning that a rate rise could trigger "panic and turmoil" in emerging markets.
While analysts remain divided on the trajectory of the Fed's monetary policy, they are unanimous that Asia's financial markets will be in for a highly-volatile week.
"The calm [on Friday] is only the eye of the storm as volatility is sure to return with a vengeance this week," IG market analyst Angus Nicholson wrote in an e-mail note last week. Huge swings were absent in Asian stock markets on Friday as weary investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the FOMC policy meeting.
"With the probability of a Fed rate hike [at] the highest it has ever been, there is likely to be plenty of movements whatever the outcome," the Melbourne-based analyst added.