China official and Caixin manufacturing PMI a focus for stock markets

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Investors will be kept on edge this week by the release of market-sensitive China economic data and a series of central banks rates decisions.

Official January manufacturing and services purchasing managers' indexes (PMI) as well as Caixin January manufacturing PMI are due on Monday, and China January FX reserves, ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday next week.

The Caixin PMI is a closely watched gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity that focuses on smaller and medium-sized companies which the official statistics leave out. Caixin services PMI is due on Wednesday.

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Morgan Stanley expects China official manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI to be unchanged from the month before at 49.7 and 54.4 respectively.

The consensus for China January Caixin manufacturing PMI is a slight move down to 48.1, compared to December's 48.2, Morgan Stanley said in a weekly note.

If consensus is right, this would mark the eleventh month of manufacturing contraction for China's manufacturing activity, according to Caixin.

These economic data points are crucial, especially after a turbulent month in January for China markets and the yuan.

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Asian central banks' monetary policy moves are also on markets' radar, with Australian and Indian rate decisions on Tuesday and the Bank of Thailand policy decision on Wednesday.

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a note he was "doubtful that the latest bout of financial and commodity market turmoil has been enough to move the RBA out of its 'chilled out' state."

"We remain of the view that the RBA will cut the cash rate again the months ahead," Oliver said.

U.S. January non-farm payrolls are out on Friday, a key indicator for the U.S. Federal Reserve, which released meeting minutes last week that showed it believed the labor market had tightened, although there was little sign of wage inflation.

Markets expect headline growth of 200,000 jobs, down from 292,000 in November, with an unchanged unemployment rate of 5.0%, National Australia Bank said in a note.

NAB added that U.S. average earnings would be in focus, and were expected to have grown by 0.3 percent in January, from no growth the month before.

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