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The Week Ahead: Singapore Banks Back In Focus

After the hullabaloo of last week’s key interest-rate decisions by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, the pace of activity should slow down considerably.

The US has August housing data to report on Monday. Last month, the US Census Bureau said sales of new homes surged 12% to 654,000. It was much better than market expectations.

China will be reporting its closely-watched Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index on Friday. China is attempting to reverse the slowdown in manufacturing to stabilise its economy. Last month the index stood at 50, which suggests that the manufacturing sector is neither expanding nor contracting.

There are a couple of key economic numbers to look out for from the European Union. The Core Inflation Rate in the Union has been at or around 1% for nearly two years. In August, it came in at 0.8%, which was below the long-term average of 1.4%.

The trading bloc will also report its seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate. Last month, the Eurostat said the unemployment rate was 10.1%. But that belies eye-watering unemployment rates of 23.5% in Greece and 19.6% in Spain.

The task ahead of the Bank of Japan to stoke inflation will be laid bare next Friday. The central bank said it has an inflation target of 2%. But last month consumer prices dropped by 0.4%, which marked the fifth straight month of declines.

It is time for those Singapore Bank Lending figures again, which should bring Singapore lenders that include DBS Group (SGX: D05), UOB (SGX: U11) and OCBC (SGX: O39) into focus.

Last month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said bank loans ticked up slightly but they were down compared to a year ago. The month-on-month growth came was driven by loans to financial institutions and the construction industry.

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