East Asia data, G20 FinMin meeting to hold markets attention

Commercial buildings stand illuminated in the Central business district of Hong Kong, China.
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Commercial buildings stand illuminated in the Central business district of Hong Kong, China.

Investors will look to East Asia for clues on the region's economic health and news out of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting taking place in Shanghai on Friday and Saturday.

Japan’s inflation rate to come in flat

Sustained inflation has remained elusive in Japan and the Consumer Price Index due out Friday will likely show the Bank of Japan still faces an uphill battle. Mizuho Bank and Barclays forecast headline inflation to come in at 0.0 percent, after a 0.1 percent rise in December.

Japan's inflation likely remained under pressure as oil prices continued to fall in January, said Mizuho Bank in a weekly note.

Despite the negative rates policy introduced in January, the central bank has signaled that it may do more if necessary, added Mizuho Bank.

Hong Kong’s Q4 GDP to show softness

Hong Kong's Financial secretary John Tsang will unveil the 2016-2017 Budget, and release 2015 Q4 and full year GDP figures on Wednesday.

Moody's Analytics expect Q4 GDP to come in soft at 0.4 percent compared to the 0.9 percent gain in the previous quarter.

The December quarter results are expected to be hurt by weaker exports although relatively upbeat domestic demand should cushion the fall, said Moody's Analytics.

Hong Kong will also release January foreign trade data on Thursday, which Moody's expects will show both exports and imports on the uptrend and trade deficit narrowing to $4.14 billion (HK32.2 billion) from $5.88 billion (HK45.7 billion).

NZ foreign trade due, Australia H1 earnings season reporting

New Zealand's January foreign trade due Friday is forecast by Moody's to show a $260.2 million (NZ$392 million) trade deficit from a $35.2 million (NZ$53 million) shortfall? in December.

January exports were likely to be driven down by weak dairy prices, while steady consumer demand and the depreciating currency likely supported import growth, reported Moody's.

Australia's December half-year earnings season is almost over. Investors will pay attention to the earnings of BHP Billiton, Qantas, Westfarmers, Woolworths and Harvey Norman this week.

Elsewhere in Asia

Thailand, Cambodia and Laos will celebrate Magha Puga, the Buddhist festival, on Monday.

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