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Marketmind: Teed up for a bullish start to the week

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By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever.

Asian markets are set for a strong start on Monday, extending last week’s upward momentum and rising risk appetite on growing hopes the U.S. economy is headed for a ‘soft landing’ after Congress’s approval last week of a debt ceiling deal that averts U.S. default.

Regional and global markets on Friday chalked up solid gains and volatility measures slumped after the release of forecast-smashing U.S. jobs figures. It looks like the ‘sell in May and go away’ maxim won’t apply this year – investors are bullish and they are buying.

Some of the moves in major regional stock markets last week are worth noting: the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index on Friday rose more than 2%, its best day in five months; Japan’s Nikkei 225 – at a 33-year high – last week rose for an eighth straight week, its best run in five years; the Hang Seng tech index snapped its longest weekly losing streak on record and rose 3.6%.

The Asian and Pacific economic data calendar on Monday will be dominated by a raft of purchasing managers index (PMI) reports, most notably for China, Japan, India and Australia, with Indonesian inflation thrown in for good measure.

Asia’s PMIs have been mixed. Manufacturing in India is growing at its fastest pace in two and a half years, South Korea’s is in its longest spell of contractionary readings in 14 years.

Market sentiment in Asia on Monday could also get a lift from signs of a potential thaw in U.S.-Sino relations, as a senior U.S. State Department official arrived in Beijing on Sunday with meetings planned for the coming week.

On the other hand, oil prices could spike higher on the news that OPEC+ is looking to cut production to counter flagging prices and a looming supply glut.

Looking ahead, investors in Asia have plenty of economic events and monetary policy decisions to get their teeth into this week.

Inflation data from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and China will be released, starting with Indonesia on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters expect annual CPI inflation eased in May to a one-year low of 4.22% from 4.33% in April.

Revised Japanese GDP is out on Thursday, while the monthly ‘data dump’ from China this week includes consumer and producer price inflation, trade, FX reserves and total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy.

These reports will give a clearer picture on how the world’s second largest economy is emerging from its pandemic lockdown. So far, it has massively undershot expectations, which is why Chinese assets have been under so much pressure.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep its cash rate on hold at 3.85%, and on Thursday the Reserve Bank of India is also expected to keep its repo rate unchanged at 6.50%, according to Reuters polls.

Here are three key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Monday:

– PMIs from China, Japan, India, Australia

– Indonesia CPI inflation (May)

– Singapore retails sales (April)

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Diane Craft)

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