5 things to know before the Singapore market opens this week: Jan 18-24

Diesel and regular fuel pumps sit at a gas station.
Diesel and regular fuel pumps sit at a gas station.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

1. Iran news might worsen the oil rout

Last Friday, oil prices fell nearly 6 per cent to close below US$30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years in anticipation of Iranian crude flooding onto already glutted oil market. Over the weekend, international sanctions against Iran were lifted. Iran said it's targeting an increase in shipments of 500,000 barrels a day. Anticipation has already spurred a 21 per cent slide in crude prices since the start of the year.

2. China to report weakest full-year growth figures in 25 years

China willl release its fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, as well as reports on industrial production, retail sales, and fixed asset investment for December on Tuesday. The data are critical to sentiment. The figures are likely to show that China economic growth to 6.8 per cent from 6.9 per cent in Q4, the weakest reading since the global financial crisis, while full-year growth last year is seen at a 25-year low of 6.9 per cent.

Chinese shares tumbled again last Friday and the yuan fell despite official efforts to prop it up, further spooking global investors and raising fears that Beijing is not able to stabilise the yuan and stock markets.

3. Singapore's December exports and URA property data

Singapore's exports figures for December come out on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters expect a second straight month of contraction. The non-oil domestic exports (NODX) are seen falling 5.1 per cent from a year earlier. In November, NODX unexpectedly fell 3.3 per cent on-year due to a sustained contraction in shipments to China.

On Friday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority releases its final Q$ property index.

Major quarterly corporate results due for release this week: M1 on Monday, SGX and CapitaLand Commercial Trust on Wednesday, Keppel Corp and Fortune Reit on Thursday and Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust and CapitaLand Mall Trust on Friday.

4. US data and earnings

US markets are closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday. But there's a slew of economic data due out this week like the house price index on Tuesday; consumer price index and housing starts on Wednesday; Chicago Fed PMI manufacturing index, existing home sales, and leading indicators on Friday.

Disappointing US data last week including on retail sales and factory output prompted some economists to downgrade their expectations for US economic growth in the final quarter of 2015, as well as the first quarter of this year.

There are also more US corporate results to show how earnings are faring with the China slowdown and stronger US including from Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Netflix, IBM, Delta Airlines, and Starbucks.

5. ECB's rate decision

Meeting for the first time since it cut interest rates and extended quantitative easing in December, the ECB is expected to remain on hold on Thursday despite the impact of plunging oil and market turmoil on Europe's growth outlook.

At the previous policy-setting meeting the ECB was already worried that its inflation forecasts may be too optimistic and said it needed to maintain firepower if risks materialise, Reuters reported.