Next Week’s News Today: Big Week For Banks

Singapore banks have lost between 8% and 20% of their value since the start of the year. Their fortunes could be improved, if Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) and United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) can steady market nerves with some good results next week. The provisions for bad and doubtful debt could be closely eyed.

Also on tap next week are embattled marine services company Sembcorp Marine (SGX: S51), Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96) and Wilmar International (SGX: F34). Look out, also, for the numbers from StarHub (SGX: CC3) and CapitaLand (SGX: C31).

Staying with equites, the Chinese markets reopen after a very long Chinese New Year break. The Shanghai stock exchange has managed to escape much of the volatility that has been a feature of global markets this week. But it could introduce even more uncertainty, when it reopens next week.

Turning to economic matters, did Japan’s economy shrink or grow in the fourth quarter of 2015? Over the last 12 quarters, the world’s third largest economy has shrunk on 5 separate occasions and grew in the other 7. The Japanese economy is currently on track for annual growth of 1%, provided it doesn’t disappoint on Monday.

Staying in Asia, China’s January import and export numbers will be closely watched for signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. In December, exports from China declined by 1.4%, while imports fell by an even larger 7.6%.

On the other side of the globe, the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting will be released on Tuesday. In January, the Fed left interest rates unchanged at its Open Market Committee meeting. Although policy makers did not rule out an increase in March it did point out that a rake hike would depend on global economic conditions.

And finally, we get to find out how Singapore retailers are fared in the run-up to Christmas. In both October and November, shopkeepers reported an increase in takings, with car sales and medical goods performing especially well.

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