Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
Some 5,000 Communist Party delegates, businesspeople and academics are in Beijing for annual meetings of the legislative National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, known as the "Two Sessions." A new cabinet will be announced at the end of the NPC, which is expected to be filled by those loyal to President Xi Jinping.
Wednesday is International Women's Day. Reducing gender disparity is becoming ever more important as COVID-19 and other crises have slowed down efforts to achieve equality between men and women.
The Bank of Japan will hold a monetary policy meeting on Thursday and Friday, which will be the last one under Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda. The nominee to succeed him, Kazuo Ueda, is awaiting parliamentary approval.
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Indonesian foreign minister visits Tokyo
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi and her Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, are set to meet in Tokyo as both countries celebrate the 65th anniversary of Indonesia-Japan diplomatic relations and 50 years of ASEAN-Japan partnership.
Japan retries H3 rocket launch
Japan will retry the launch of its next-generation rocket, H3, from the Tanegashima Space Center, on a small island 1,000 km southwest of Tokyo, after a failure to lift off in mid-February. The H3 is the first update to Japan's launch vehicle in over 20 years and represents a radical redesign from its predecessor. The demonstration launch was supposed to put a government satellite into orbit.
Chinese foreign minister's press conference
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang is expected to share his view on the country's foreign policy on the sidelines of the National People's Congress. Appointed in December, Qin and his predecessor Wang Yi, who now heads the Communist Party's foreign office, are leading China's "major country diplomacy" amid growing tensions with U.S.-led democracies on wide ranging topics including the war in Ukraine and Taiwan.
China, Taiwan release trade figures
China's combined trade data for January and February will show the impact of the country's reopening after a rebound in manufacturing activities. The bimonthly numbers will be released together by convention due to the Lunar New Year holidays.
Taiwan is set to publish February trade statistics on the same day.
Monetary policy: Australia
International Women's Day
The world celebrates the International Women's Day. The day offers an opportunity to reflect on the current status of gender disparity and how countries can narrow the gap. This year's Women's Day has a special significance as it became more visible that crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic hit women disproportionately.
China, ASEAN meet in Jakarta
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China will have a meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea from Wednesday to Friday. This will be the first meeting since Indonesia took over the chairmanship of ASEAN this year. China has overlapping claims with several Southeast Asian countries in the sea and tensions are rising in the region.
South Korea's ruling People Power Party picks new leader
The 840,000 members of South Korea's ruling People Power Party will cast their ballots on who will take the helm of the party for a two-year term. Polls show that four-term lawmaker Kim Gi-hyeon leads the race followed by entrepreneur-turned-politician Ahn Cheol-soo who joined the party last year.
World Baseball Classic begins
Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and South Korea are among the 20 teams participating in the World Baseball Classic tournament, set for March 8-21. The fifth edition of the WBC will take place in Japan, the U.S. and Taiwan. Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will play for the national team. The usually quadrennial competition will be held for the first time since 2017, as the last one was canceled due to the pandemic.
Earnings: Cathay Pacific
Nepal chooses president
Nepal is due to hold an election for the largely ceremonial post of president on March 9, as turmoil swirls around the government of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The prime minister has backed a candidate from the opposition Nepali Congress party, angering his partners in a fragile ruling coalition.
Japan revised GDP
Japan will release revised gross domestic product figures for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2022. According to preliminary data released in February, the economy grew 1.1% in 2022 over 2021, and fourth quarter GDP expanded 0.2% from the previous quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms, which translates into annualized growth of 0.6%.
China inflation data
China releases consumer price index data for February, which has been trending upward but has been well under the annual 3% target in the past two months due to higher food prices.
Earnings: JD.com, Swire
Monetary policy: Malaysia
Japan monetary policy announcement
The Bank of Japan concludes a two-day monetary policy meeting, the last one under Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, who will end his term on April 8. Investors think it unlikely that Kuroda will introduce new measures just before his departure. Meanwhile, the Diet is expected to approve the nomination of Kazuo Ueda, an economics professor, as the next BOJ governor by Friday.
Earnings: AIA Group
China's new premier
On Saturday, China's parliament, the National People's Congress, is expected to appoint Li Qiang as the new premier, as well as other top officials leading key institutions. As a protege of President Xi Jinping, Li's debut signals the strengthening of the former's power in the central government.
The Academy Awards
On Sunday, Asians and Asian Americans will be highlighted at the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science awards. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" has a predominantly Asian cast and received more nominations than any other movie this year, including Michelle Yeoh for best actress, and Daniel Kwan for best director. Overall, Asian actors are up for four Oscars, the most ever, while Kazuo Ishiguro has been nominated for best adapted screenplay and Chandrabose and M.M. Keeravani for best original song.