Asia Economy

Bank Indonesia, BoK rates, China FDI among data likely to move Asia markets

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After hair-raising volatility in the first week of the year, investors are watching China's every move, as well as a string of interest rate decisions and data points due in the coming days.

China and Hong Kong

China's December foreign direct investment (FDI), due Thursday, is forecast to be $13 billion, a 2.4 percent fall from a year ago, according to Moody's Analytics.

The weaker FDI comes on the back of lower interest rates and a weaker yuan, which cuts the return on capital invested in China.

"Investors are likely to stay away given the high overcapacity in heavy industry and deflation in producer goods prices," Moody's Analytics wrote in its weekly note.

In Hong Kong, amid mounting political and economic pressures, particularly over the disappearance of a book seller critical of China's leadership, investors will eye Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address on Wednesday.


December employment data, due on Thursday, is expected to show a reversal in the "unbelievable 71,000 jobs surge in November," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP capital, in a note.

Oliver added that he expected a 10,000-strong drop in employment, and the unemployment rate to rise to 5.9 percent "but the reality is that trying to pick the jobs numbers is a bit like forecasting a random number generator."

November housing finance data to be released on Friday, will likely show a slight improvement at 0.4 percent. Sydney's property market surged through most of 2015, and is expected to cool because of lower affordability and higher borrowing costs, said Moody's.

Australia's big focus is China: Moody's

Japan and South Korea

Japan will release its December consumer confidence index on Tuesday and November machinery orders on Wednesday.

Moody's said it expected the consumers confidence to improve to 43.9 as the government rolls out more stimulus plans, but remain "well below the neutral mark of 50 as households remain cautious about the future."

Japan's core machinery growth is expected to soften in November, down 6.2 percent after October's strong 10.7 percent gain, Moody's said.

In South Korea, the Bank of Korea will announce its latest monetary policy decision on Thursday. Morgan Stanley said in a note that it expected the BoK to keep rates on hold at 1.5 percent.

As well as seeking greater financial stability, South Korea's biggest tasks in 2016 were to implement structural reforms and boost its growth potential, South Korea's central bank chief Lee Ju-yeol told Reuters last December.

The BoK cut interest rates four times between August 2014 to June 2015.


India's November industrial production, due on Tuesday, likely expanded 5.4 percent, down from a 9.4 percent rise in October, as soft global demand and underutilization put a lid on the country's production potential, according to Moody's.

December consumer price index will be out Tuesday, while December wholesale price index (WPI) is due Thursday.

Mizuho Bank's Varathan noted that "renewed softness in oil prices should be reflected in India's CPI and WPI."

Also on Thursday, trade data will likely show a December deficit of $9.6 billion, with exports set to continue to decline this year, reported Moody's.

India has defied the emerging market slump. Can it last?

Malaysia and Indonesia

Bank Indonesia's (BI) monetary policy decision on Thursday is a close call between a hold at 7.5 percent and a 25 basis points cut, said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank in a note.

However, rupiah volatility amid volatility may compel the BI to hold, he added.

Indonesia is also expected on Friday to reveal a trade surplus of $350 million, with experts continuing with double-digit declines on the back of lower commodity prices that are hitting the country's mining and energy industries.

In Malaysia, November industrial production, out Monday, is forecast by Moody's to tick up 4.5 percent year on year, despite softer global demand.

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