5 things to know before the Singapore market opens this week: Oct 19-25

Workers direct a crane lifting newly-made steel bars at a factory of Dongbei Special Steel Group Co., Ltd., in Dalian, China.
Workers direct a crane lifting newly-made steel bars at a factory of Dongbei Special Steel Group Co., Ltd., in Dalian, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

1. China GDP in focus

All eyes are on China this week with the release of its third-quarter gross domestic product data on Monday (Oct 19). The world's second-biggest economy is forecast to have expanded at the slowest pace since 2009. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal say the economy likely grew 6.8 per cent from a year earlier, down from 7 per cent in the first two quarters of the year.

A stock market slump and the yuan's surprise devaluation have already unnerved investors and a harder landing for China will stoke worries about an erosion in global commodity and export demand going into 2016. But confirmation of a slowdown may also raise expectations that Beijing will step up efforts to bolster the economy, including more interest rate cuts.

Monday will also see Chinese monthly data on fixed asset investment, retail sales and industrial production.

2. More quantitative easing from the ECB?

The European Central Bank will announce its latest monetary-policy decision on Thursday (Oct 22).

While analysts expect the ECB to hold interest rates steady, expectations are building that the central bank may accelerate its bond-buying programme or quantitative easing (QE). Lower oil prices dragged euro zone consumer prices into negative territory in September and even the euro zone's powerhouse economy Germany is reporting poor exports. That is putting the ECB under increasing pressure to expand or prolong an asset purchase scheme already running to more than a trillion euros.

3. Fresh PMI data

This forward-looking economic indicator - purchasing managers' index or PMI - will signal how major economies fared in the fourth quarter. Preliminary or flash estimates of activity in the euro zone's services and manufacturing sectors are due on Friday (Oct 23), while manufacturing PMIs will also be released that day for Japan and the US.

4. Slew of US housing data

Due for release this week are a housing-market index for October (Monday), then September statistics on new houses under construction and building permits (Tuesday) and existing-home sales (Thursday).

Expectations are falling to near zero for the first US interest rate increase in a nearly a decade to come this year. Further strong housing reports could turn that around. The Federal Reserve has two more rate-setting meetings on Oct 27-28 and Dec 15-16.

Tech titans will also be reporting corporate results after banks weighed in last week. Reports are due from IBM on Monday, United Technologies on Tuesday, and Microsoft and Amazon on Thursday.

5. Singapore corporate earnings

Quarterly corporate earnings season pick up in earnest this week. Reports are due from the following:

Monday: M1, Keppel Infrastructure Trust, Keppel Reit, Mapletree Logistics Trust

Tuesday: EMAS Offshore, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation

Wednesday: SGX, Mapletree Commercial Trust, Mapletree Industrial Trust, Cache Logistics Trust

Thursday: Ascendas Reit, Keppel Corp, CapitaLand Mall Trust, Sembcorp Marine, Suntec Reit, Cambridge Industrial Trust, Frasers Centrepoint Trust

Friday: CapitaLand Retail China Trust, Frasers Commercial Trust, Great Eastern Holdings, United Overseas Insurance

Also due this week are Singapore's consumer price index for September and URA's final property price index data, both on Friday.