Looking Ahead in Asia

Political strife in Thailand, economic data out of Indonesia and a central bank meeting in Australia should take the spotlight in Asia this week.  China takes the back seat for now with markets there closed for most of the week for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Still, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released on Saturday fell to 50.5 in January from December’s 51, showing that manufacturing activity slowed last month and reinforcing the view that China’s economy has started 2014 on a weak note.

“With New Year celebrations seeing the country taking a full seven days off, it would not surprise me to see the official PMI index joining the HSBC PMI index, and fall into contraction for the first time in 14 months,” Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Markets said in a note.


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