Central bank sensitive shares face week of data © Reuters. An electronic screen displaying Japan’s Nikkei share average is pictured in Tokyo, Japan March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

(In paragraphs 1 and 15, corrects markets closed on Friday to Hong Kong, not China)

By Alden Bentley

(Reuters) -A look at the day ahead in Asian markets.

Investors in Asia may favor playing it conservative ahead of a slew of economic indicators in coming days, especially with Japan’s stock market notching consecutive record highs and market closures on Friday for many centers, including Hong Kong.

225 was hardly unique last week, extending its rally on Thursday and Friday. While dovish central bank signals emanated from the Federal Reserve, Swiss National Bank and Bank of England, it was the Bank of Japan that kicked off the hectic central bank news cycle by ending its long-held policy of yield curve control and negative interest rate in a signal of confidence in Japan’s economic recovery. 

But Wall Street and other exchanges paused on Friday to digest their record runs and Japan could be due for its own moment of consolidation in the coming days. 

Japan does get revised January leading indicators on Monday and services PPI data, while Tokyo CPI is due on Thursday. Consumer price inflation data is also due from Malaysia and Singapore on Monday.


Of more concern for the region’s currencies is Friday’s sell-off in the to a four-month low on the weaker side of the 7.2 per dollar level. It ended the U.S. session at 7.2759 amid growing market expectations that Beijing will have to deliver further monetary easing to shore up economic growth. The yuan swoon hit China’s stock market [.SS] and pressured the Philippine peso, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, Korean won and Thai baht. 

Meanwhile, Premier Li Qiang on Sunday said China will carefully study issues of market access and cross-border data flows and will soon issue new regulations in these areas. 

“We cordially welcome companies from all countries to invest in China and deepen their foothold in China,” Li told an audience of global CEOs and Chinese policymakers.

Profit taking on Friday capped the advances of stock indexes on Wall Street and in Europe, a day after they notched all-time highs. The closed 0.14% lower and the Nasdaq rose a similar amount.

Switzerland’s surprise rate cut on Thursday cemented the notion that, BOJ aside, developed country central banks would be easing interest rates soon. 

That thinking obviously includes the Fed, which on Wednesday left the fed funds rate alone at 5.25% to 5.50% but indicated it was still prepared to lower rates by 75 basis points this year, despite a worrying uptick in U.S. inflation and economic growth solid enough perhaps to dodge a soft landing. 

Many markets in Europe and in the U.S. will be closed on Friday, for Good Friday. As it happens, since it’s not a U.S. public holiday, the most important data of the week, the February personal consumption expenditures inflation index, lands when markets are closed. But Asia will be the first markets to trade on it the following Monday.

Meanwhile there is not as much incentive to buy during a holiday-shortened week. Hong Kong’s stock exchanges are also closed but Japan’s are open.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets in the coming week:

– Malaysia CPI (Feb)

– Singapore CPI (Feb)

– Japan revised leading indicators (Jan) 

– Japan services PPI (Feb)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here