Looking Ahead in Asia

Asia’s central banks will likely hog the market spotlight this week, while earnings season continues in Japan with Panasonic, Sharp, Toyota Motor, Mazda and Mitsubishi Motors handing in their report cards.  Meanwhile, a private survey of China’s manufacturing activity could provide some insight into the state of the world’s second-largest economy.

After a string of unexpected moves by central banks as of late, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) policy meeting on Tuesday will likely attract more attention than usual.  Analyst expect the RBA to join the easing bandwagon, after its Asian peers India and Singapore recently surprised markets with inter-meeting easing measures. Beyond Asia, the European Central Bank (ECB) unleashed a larger-than-expected bond-buying program on January 22, while the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark rate for the first time since 2010 in the same week.

A 25 basis point reduction in interest rate will make sense as “insurance” to improve the Australian economy, wrote Shane Oliver, head of Investment Strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, in a note.


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