All eyes will be on China-US talks, Latest Business News - The New Paper

All eyes will be on China-US talks

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Investors looking to a positive start to the year were greeted by weak Chinese purchasing managers' index figures, which fed into mounting growth concerns and sent more investors erring on the side of caution.

Apple's lowered forecasts did not help either, placing markets in further peril in the mid-week on the back of a low liquidity environment as Japanese markets were closed.

Perhaps, good news comes to those who wait as Friday's confirmation of the resumption of formal talks between US and Chinese officials saw most Asian markets post gains on the day.

Meanwhile, a strong US jobs data release on the same day saw the US economy add 312,000 jobs last month, suggesting continued strength in the US economy. This sent US markets closing higher on Friday, ending the week on a positive note.

On the strong jobs report showing, FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunga said that it definitely "provides an argument for the data-dependent Fed to raise interest rates".

However, he added: "Concerns over the US experiencing an economic slowdown still remains on the mind of many investors and this continues to be reflected in the US dollar's overall price action.

"While the Dollar Index could appreciate further in the near term as investors relish the blowout jobs report, upside gains may face headwinds down the road."

But most attention this week will be firmly on what commentators hope will be progress towards better US-China trade relations, as the US government delegation led by deputy trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish will be in Beijing today to talk trade with China.

This has so far fuelled hopes of a lift for stock markets in the coming week, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.

"Whether we would be receiving a meeting conclusion at this stage of discussion remains uncertain. That said, considering the extended truce period of 90 days, having no news could perhaps be taken equally as good news for the two-day meeting," she added.

The Singapore economic docket for the week is relatively light, with December's foreign reserve figures out today and November's retail sales figures due on Friday.

In its weekly outlook, the UOB global economics and markets research team said that much of the focus domestically will be political, with Singapore and Malaysia's foreign ministers scheduled to meet in Singapore tomorrow on the current maritime and airspace disputes between the two countries.

A slew of key economic data releases for December will be out in China this week. These include today's foreign reserves data, and producer price index and consumer price index (CPI) figures on Thursday, among others.

UOB said: "Visibly missing is China's December trade data, which is scheduled to be released only on Jan 14 - the latest release date since at least 2009."

Down Under, November trade data will be out tomorrow, and November retail sales figures are due on Friday.

In Taiwan, December trade figures are due today while December CPI is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

Across the causeway, November industrial production numbers will be out on Friday.

There are no central bank monetary policy decisions to be made in the Asia-Pacific region this week.

In Europe, November trade data will be released this week for the UK, Germany and France.

In the US, December CPI is scheduled on Friday but it might be delayed if the government shutdown continues. Also, December's Federal Open Market Committee minutes will be out mid-week.

The US earnings season kicks off on Wednesday withmajor US financial institutions reporting their earnings on Jan 14.

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