Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
China will release key statistics, including industrial production data, giving a snapshot of Asia’s largest economy. China will also announce the May home price index, a key indicator of the nation’s property market.
On the monetary policy front, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be closely watched by Asian investors, as its interest rate decision will affect policies and markets across the region. The central banks of Taiwan and Japan will also hold monetary policy meetings this week.
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Hang Seng Index expands
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is expanding the number of component stocks in the index to 69 from 66. The index, launched in November 1969, has gradually been growing in recent years, with the stock market operator seeking to eventually bring number of constituent shares to 100.
The latest round of enlargement will remove one issue, Apple supplier AAC Technologies Holdings, and add four others, including another tech name, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC). The Shanghai-based chipmaker is on the U.S. sanctions list for alleged links to the Chinese military. The White House has banned U.S. investors from trading shares on the list, starting June 3.
The other three issues are the world’s largest aluminum producer, China Hongqiao Group, auto dealer Zhongsheng Group Holdings and Orient Overseas (International), a Hong Kong-based shipping company controlled by China’s state-owned Cosco Group. All are mainland Chinese companies or their subsidiaries. The change further strengthens the mainland portion of the index.
Asia’s policymakers and investors will closely watch the FOMC meeting being held Tuesday and Wednesday. Committee members will discuss the U.S. economic outlook and future rate hikes.
Chinese economic data
Economic data from China, including May retail sales and industrial production, will be released Wednesday and is likely to show the impact of COVID lockdowns in big cities such as Shanghai.
The following day China will announce the May home price index, which will be closely watched following the recent lowering of mortgage interest rates. China’s housing market has slowed since last year, following a government clampdown on the property sector.
Huawei developers’ conference
Huawei’s annual two-day developers conference kicks off Wednesday. The Chinese tech champion will host online forums, beginning with Deputy Chairman and Rotating Chairman Ken Hu’s keynote address. Executives in charge of the company’s enterprise and cloud businesses will also speak on the first day of the event. Huawei will also host events in more than 20 cities across China.
South Korea tries again to launch satellite with homegrown rocket
South Korea makes its second attempt to launch a domestically produced rocket, after failing to deliver a satellite into orbit in October last year. If successful, the country will become the 10th that is able to put a satellite in orbit using its own technology, and the seventh to do so with a satellite weighing more than 1 ton.
Genting Dream cruise ship sails from Singapore
The beleaguered Genting Dream ship will set sail from Singapore, after questions were raised about its future following the winding up of its former owner, Genting Hong Kong. The ship is now operated by Resorts World Cruises, a new cruise line linked to Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay. Plans are in place for the ship to offer trips to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Taiwan central bank meeting
Taiwan’s central bank is likely to raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, according to economist estimates, as it tries to head off inflation. The island’s consumer price index rose 3.39% on the year in May, its sharpest increase in 10 years.
Taiwan surprised markets in March by raising the benchmark rate to 1.375% from 1.125%, where it had been since March 2020. That decision came a day after the Fed’s announcement of its first rate hike since 2018.
GDP: New Zealand
BOJ monetary policy meeting
The Bank of Japan is expected to stick to its loose monetary policy at a two-day meeting ending on Friday, highlighting the divergence in policy between Japan, the U.S. and the eurozone. Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda has recently ruled out shifting the BOJ’s easy-money stance, even as the Fed tightens aggressively and the European Central Bank prepares for a rate increase. Currency traders and investors are expected to respond to this split by sending the yen even lower.
China’s ‘618’ shopping festival concludes
China’s monthlong “618” midyear online shopping festival concludes Saturday. After taking a hit from the two-month lockdown in Shanghai, merchants and e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba and JD.com, are looking to the online shopping blitz to regain momentum.
Unlike previous years, when prominent influencers drove sales, Alibaba’s top three streamers — Viya the Live Queen, Li Jiaqi the Lipstick King, and Xueli Cherie — have all disappeared due to tax fraud scandals or politically sensitive incidents this year. Observers will be watching to see how this year’s sales volume compares with last year’s, given the absence of prominent influencers and sluggish consumer demand.
Philippine Vice President-elect Sara Duterte takes oath of office
Sara Duterte-Carpio, eldest daughter of outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, will take the oath of office as the country’s next vice president in Davao City, where she is currently the mayor. Like her running mate, President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the current president’s daughter won the vice-presidential race in a landslide last month. The two incoming leaders’ six-year terms will start on June 30.