SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were set to trade higher Monday ahead of economic data due from China including fourth-quarter GDP figures.
Nikkei futures pointed to a slightly higher open in Japan, where the benchmark index closed the previous session at 28,124.28.
Australian shares rose after the first half-hour of trade. The ASX 200 was up 0.16% as the heavily-weighted financials subindex gained 0.26% and the energy sector was up 1.22%.
The session in Asia follows a mixed finish in the U.S. last Friday, where Wall Street notched a second straight negative week to start the year.
“Markets reacted defensively to disappointing US economic data for December as retail sales fell sharply and manufacturing production declined, hit by a triple whammy of high inflation, ongoing supply shortages and Omicron,” ANZ Research analysts wrote in a Monday morning note.
“We expect the Fed will have to revise up its inflation forecasts and interest rate guidance for coming months at next week’s meeting,” they added.
U.S. markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Economists expect data out of Beijing on Monday to underline slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, in part due to factors like China’s strict measures to contain the omicron Covid variant as well as problems in its property sector and sluggish consumption.
A Reuters poll showed that gross domestic product likely grew 3.6% in the October-December quarter from a year ago — the weakest pace since the second quarter of 2020 and slowing from 4.9% in the July-September quarter.
Last week, U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs slashed its 2022 forecast for China economic growth from 4.8% to 4.3%.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded relatively flat at 95.175 against a basket of its peers. The Japanese yen changed hands at 114.30 while the Australian dollar rose 0.11% to $0.7214.
Oil prices advanced on Monday during Asian trading hours. U.S. crude added 0.85% to $84.53 a barrel.