5 things to know before the Singapore market opens this week: April 11-17

The International Monetary Fund building in Washington, DC.
The International Monetary Fund building in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

1. All eyes on Singapore GDP and MAS decision

Singapore's central bank is expected to stand pat on its Singdollar exchange-rate policy this weekly, although some analysts say an easing this year remains a possibility because of weak economic outlook and low inflation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will release its semi-annual policy statement on Thursday (April 14) at 8am, along with the government's advance estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP).

Private economists surveyed by MAS have cut their forecast for year-on-year growth in the January to March quarter to 1.6 per cent from 1.8 per cent previously. They also lowered their predictions for full-year growth to 1.9 per cent from 2.2 per cent. The Government has said it expects the economy to grow 1 to 3 per cent this year.

2. China also releases GDP, other key data

Also high on the agenda this week is China's first-quarter GDP data due on Friday amid concern about the slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

Beijing is aiming for GDP growth of between 6.5 per cent and 7 per cent this year. The economy grew 6.9 per cent in 2015, the weakest pace in a quarter of a century, with some analysts believing that real growth was even lower.

China is also due to release monthly inflation and loan figures on Monday and trade data on Wednesday. Analysts say exports may show a big rebound in March after falling in the first two months of the year. Top officials have said the economy was showing signs of improvement while capital outflows were easing.

3. Will Doha put a cap on crude?

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and other major producers such as Russia will meet in the Qatari capital of Doha on Thursday to decide on a possible freeze in crude output in an attempt to shore up oil prices amidst a global glut.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, has said it will not cap production unless other producers do the same. But Iran, which holds the world's fifth-biggest crude oil reserves, hasn't yet committed to attend the Doha gathering and has said it plans to expand exports following the removal of international sanctions in January.

Although oil prices have clawed back some ground on hopes of a production freeze, they are still down by more than 60 per cent from a mid-2014 peak.

4. IMF and World Bank

The International Monetary Fund publishes its outlook for the global economy before spring meetings with the World Bank starting on Friday. Before that on Wednesday, the IMF will release its global financial stability report which will highlight the systemic issues that could pose a risk to financial stability.

The gathering will focus on the role of China in the global economy and ways to strengthen the international tax system with tax inversion deals in the spotlight after pharma giant Pfizer abandoned its merger with Allergan.

5. Corporate earnings season kicks off

The corporate earnings season starts this weak with Singapore Press Holdings posting its second-quarter results on Tuesday.

The US earnings season also kicks off on Monday with corporate America expected to remain in a profit recession. JP Morgan, the biggest US lender by assets, announces its earnings on Wednesday.