ASIA MARKETS: China Data, Australian Vote In Focus For Asia
First Published Saturday, 25th February 2012 12:05 pm - © 2012 Dow Jones
By Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Chinese data are set to take center stage again in the week ahead in Asia, with Australian politics also in focus.
On Thursday, the markets will get a look at rival manufacturing surveys, and here, the magic number will be 50.
That's because the 50-point level marks the dividing line between expansion and contraction in both versions of the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - one published by the government-backed China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing and a second from banking major HSBC.
This past week, HSBC released an initial "flash" reading of its China PMI, which came in at 49.7, up from the previous month's 48.8 and just below the key 50 line.
The flash edition generally includes the initial 85% to 90% of manufacturers' responses to the survey, and if the final reading has an upward revision above 50, it could offer a nice psychological boost to Chinese economic sentiment.
As for the government-sponsored PMI, it has remained in expansionary territory for a couple months now after a single sub-50 reading back in November. Its January manufacturing PMI printed at 50.5.
Meanwhile, Monday will be a day of decision in Canberra, as Labour Party members of Parliament vote on whether to keep Prime Minister Julia Gillard as their nation's leader.
Gillard called the leadership vote last Thursday after former prime minister Kevin Rudd resigned as Gillard's foreign secretary and publicly questioned whether she would be able to keep Labour's hold on government in future elections.
Rudd was himself ousted in a leadership challenge by Gillard in 2010, who then called snap elections and managed to form a minority Labour government.
Gillard has since seen her own poll ratings fall, but a count from The Australian newspaper published Thursday tipped Gillard with 65 likely votes against 31 votes for Rudd and 7 undecided.
Among other events in the coming week, Japan is slated to release January unemployment and consumer-price data on Tuesday, while India is slated to issue its quarterly gross domestic product numbers on Wednesday.