Five things to know as the Singapore market opens for the week March 16 to 22

1. US central bank to offer fresh clues on interest rate hike timing

The guessing game over just when the United States Federal Reserve will make its move on raising US interest rates has been going on for months - but this week could yield some big clues.

Last week many investors across the globe were fixated on the two-day meeting to be held this week by Fed's policy-making arm, the Federal Open Market Committee ahead of an announcement on rates due at 2am on Thursday Singapore time.

Flat US inflation data released last Friday did nothing to dampen expectations a rate rise may come as early as June.

Just as many central banks around the world - including those in Europe and Asia - are moving to cut interest rates to spur economic growth, the US is moving in the opposite direction.

Its massive money-printing programme known as quantative easing appears to have turned the economy around, with the jobless rate falling and growth on the rise.

Now, the key question is when the Fed will move the main benchmark rate from the historic lows it's been held at pretty much since the global financial crisis.

One crucial indicator, say analysts, is whether the Fed retains or drops its long-standing use of the word "patient" in relation to keeping rates low to allow the economy to get going.

2. February Singapore export figures due out

Analysts are bracing themselves for grim figures when figures on Singapore's non-oil domestic exports for February are released Tuesday.

They expect the recent slowdown in China's economy - a major market for the Republic's factories - to show up in the figures.

"The consensus is for negative 0.4 per cent for February from a year ago, but if the number is better than that, it would help,'' Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee said.

If the export figures do prove to weak, that will add weight to concerns that first quarter economic growth in Singapore will also be on the low side.

3. Greek finance minister under fire as debt standoff drags on

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has come under some criticism at home after he posed for a photo shoot for French lifestyle magazine Paris Match.

Debt-laden Greece, under its recently-elected left-wing Syriza party, is trying to strike a balance between promises it made to its own supporters to ease tough austerity measures - and the euro zone's insistence that such measures be introduced in order to satisfy international creditors.

CNBC reported that Mr Varoufakis had a heated exchange with CNBC Anchor Julia Chatterley

He was asked whether he felt he was a liability to his government as the photo shoot, which might harm his efforts to promote a serious message about Greece's dire financial straits.

The photo spread showed him drinking wine, playing the piano and posing in front of the Acropolis.

"Are you a liability for your channel?," Mr Varoufakis asked CNBC's Ms Chatterley, before saying that he "tried not to be".

He said he was confident a deal could be struck with global creditors by April 20.

4. Decisions on interest rates also due in Japan and Indonesia

The United States Fed is not the only central bank considering interest rates this week.

Central banks in both Japan and Indonesia are due to announce their own decisions on rates on Tuesday.

The Bank of Japan, which has mounted its own version of QE to stimulate the sluggish economy, is generally expected to keep rates on hold.

However, Indonesia, which unveiled a surprise quarter point cut last month - the first in three years - might make another cut.

In February, the Bank Indonesia cut the benchmark rate by 0.25 basis points to 5.5 per cent.

5. The US dollar keep rising and oil keeps falling.

A growing belief that the US central bank will increase interest rates sooner rather than later, along with a weaker euro and a slowing Chinese economy, are driving the US dollar ever higher.

At the same time, the recent rebound in crude oil prices seems to have come to an end, with oil now sinking to fresh lows.

The greenback maintained its rally, trading near a 12-year high versus the euro as investors considered the timeline for higher US interest rates ahead of this week's Federal Reserve meeting, Bloomberg reported.

The dollar was at US$1.0498 per euro by 8:16am Monday in Tokyo, after reaching its strongest level since January 2003. The dollar held weekly gains of at least 0.4 per cent versus the currencies of Australia and New Zealand.

West Texas Intermediate crude lost 2.1 per cent to US$43.88 a barrel after sinking 4.7 percent on Friday, and capping a weekly plunge of 9.6 per cent, its steepest drop this year. Brent oil fell 1.8 per cent to US$53.70 per barrel following Friday's 4.2 per cent retreat.

A record surplus in U.S. crude inventories may soon strain the country's storage capacity, renewing the slump in oil prices, the International Energy Agency said Friday. The largest oil-storage hub in the US, located in Cushing, Oklahoma, is 70 per cent full, the agency said.