Asia markets set to trade higher as investors wait for China data

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.

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U.S. markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

China’s economic slowdown

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%.

Currencies and oil

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.


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