Next Week’s News Today: Japan In Focus

Japan is pencilled in for some key numbers that could shape its near-term economic policy. These include import and export numbers and the leading economic index. Japan balance of trade with the rest of world widened last month due to lower shipment of machinery.

The widening of Japan’s trade balance could spur the Bank of Japan to consider more aggressive monetary policy when it announces its latest interest-rate decision on Friday. The central bank’s decision could also be affected by the inflation data that is due on the same day.

Recently, the BoJ governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, said the bank would scrutinise various factors in deciding whether additional monetary easing was necessary. That could be a hint that more monetary easing could be on its way.

In other central bank news, the US Federal Reserve meets for the first time since raising interest rates. Policymakers said they will carefully monitor actual and expected progress towards to its inflation goal in deciding further rate adjustments.

Singapore will report inflation data next week. Headline inflation dropped by 0.8% in November, though the core inflation rate rose 0.2% in the Garden City. The annual rate of inflation is significantly below the long-run average of 2.7%, which could spur the central bank into action.

Staying in Singapore, the earnings season continues with results that include three from the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI). They are Global Logistics Properties (SGX: MC0), Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: C07) and Golden Agri-Resources (SGX: E5H).

Elsewhere, midcaps Osim International (SGX: O23), Indofood Agri Resources (S5JS) and United Engineers (SGX:  U04) are also expected to step forward to with quarterly numbers.

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