Looking Ahead in Asia

A flurry of economic data, alongside a central bank decision in Japan, will likely hog the spotlight in Asia this week.  Japan will release its first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) on Wednesday, which is expected to show the world’s third largest economy on a steady recovery from recession after last year’s sales tax hike.

The economy likely grew 1.5 percent over the January-March period, according to a Reuters poll of 22 economists, matching the rate of growth in the preceding quarter. That would translate into a quarterly growth of 0.4 percent, same as the October-December quarter, as exports and business investments improve.

“The economy is growing steadily on the back of exports and industrial production, which are benefiting from the cheaper yen and increased demand for new tech gadgets. However, private consumption stagnated due to a lack of wage growth and inflation erodes households’ purchasing power. The swing variable will be investment, though on balance, it looks weak,” a note from Moody’s Analytics said.