Markets Insight

Quiet week likely for Asia ahead of Good Friday

Most markets will close a day earlier this week for the Good Friday holiday.
Most markets will close a day earlier this week for the Good Friday holiday. PHOTO: ST FILE

Economic data - from China in particular - is set to play a bigger role in leading sentiment

Markets in Asia, including Singapore, are likely to consolidate in the shortened week ahead.

This follows an eventful week that culminated in United States President Donald Trump ordering a missile strike against a Syrian airbase on Friday.

Mr Trump's crucial meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping also brought on a positive development as both leaders agreed on a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting US exports and reducing the trade deficit between the two countries, although little detail about the plan has been revealed.

Most markets will close a day earlier this week for the Good Friday holiday. Economic data - from China in particular - is set to play a bigger role in leading sentiment here this week. The world's second-biggest economy is due to release consumer and producer numbers for last month on Wednesday and trade figures on Thursday.

"Contrasting trends have been expected for March's consumer and producer prices and the latter could be of key interest amid concerns of China's tightening," said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.

"Meanwhile, China's... exports are expected to revert to year-on-year growth in US dollar terms. For Asian markets, this could be a potential driver into the end of the week."

At home, advance estimates for Singapore's first-quarter gross domestic product will be out on Thursday.

A Moody's Analytics report said the numbers are expected to show that economic growth slowed to 1.8 per cent year on year compared with the 2.9 per cent rise in the last quarter of last year, although the difference is misleading and due to differing base effects.

"Abstracting from this, the data will show that the city-state's economy continued to perform well in the first three months of 2017. In particular, manufacturing output will grow strongly as a result of improved global demand.

"The service sector will likely also improve. The laggard will be construction output, as falling residential property prices continue to weigh on building activity," it said.

Telcos were in focus following last Tuesday's general spectrum auction, where Singtel, StarHub, M1 and newcomer TPG Telecom put up a record bid of $1.14 billion. Some analysts have flagged that the aggressive bids might hurt the operators financially.

The telcos finished weaker on Friday, with Singtel, for example, sliding 0.77 per cent or three cents to $3.88.

Logistics provider CWT requested a trading halt on its shares on Thursday, pending an announcement. The stock last traded at $2.07, up 0.5 per cent, or one cent, on the previous day's close.

A Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources said China's HNA Group is in advanced talks to make a formal takeover offer for CWT in a deal that values the company at around $1.4 billion.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Quiet week likely for Asia ahead of Good Friday'. Print Edition | Subscribe