Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
Alibaba and other big Chinese tech companies will start reporting earnings from this week. As the Chinese government's crackdown on tech companies begins to ease, the outlook of these companies will be closely watched. Many of them are looking to focus on developing ChatGPT-like AI chatbot services.
The next governor of the Bank of Japan, Kazuo Ueda, will make his first official statement at his confirmation hearing in the Diet this week. The market is closely watching how he plans to navigate the BOJ after a decade of his predecessor Haruhiko Kuroda's ultra-loose monetary policy.
In the meantime, South Korea is set to release birth data for 2022 while the country is fighting a declining population.
The Russia-Ukraine war enters its second year this week with little sign that it will end soon.
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Thailand year-end debt update
The Bank of Thailand will publish data on outstanding loans in the fourth quarter of 2022. Key figures include the value of nonperforming loans -- which has declined for three consecutive quarters -- and the value of delinquent loans that has remained at three times the pre-pandemic level. Indebtedness among Thai households and small businesses worsened during the pandemic, with household debt amounting to 86.8% of gross domestic product in the third quarter, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Japan-born panda returns to China
Japan's celebrity panda Xiang Xiang is due to board a flight to Chengdu in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Xiang Xiang was born at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo in June 2017 to two giant pandas on loan from China, making her the property of China too under the loan arrangement. Xiang Xiang's return to China has been postponed a couple of times since 2019 due to her popularity in Japan and COVID-19. Her eventual departure this month has drawn fans to wait for hours at the zoo to say goodbye to their beloved panda.
Japan and China hold security talks
Japan and China will hold security talks, the first in four years, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both sides have agreed to hold the Japan-China Consultations between Diplomatic Authorities on Feb. 21 and the Japan-China Security Dialogue on Feb. 22. The Japan-China Economic Partnership Consultation will also be held this week.
Earnings: Singapore Airlines
Meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors
The first meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors and the second meeting of their deputies under the Indian presidency of the intergovernmental forum kick off in the southern city of Bengaluru. Coinciding with the first anniversary of Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, the four-day event is likely to include discussions of the global economic slowdown and exploration of ways to regulate cryptocurrencies, among other issues.
Hong Kong budget
Hong Kong announces its newest budget with more support expected for the pandemic-hit economy. But huge COVID curb bills and the cost of policies to help struggling businesses are draining the city's once-bumper war chest to levels not seen in years. A downturn in the real estate market is adding another challenge as the government takes in less from key property taxes.
This test of Hong Kong's fiscal fitness comes as it grapples with an exodus of residents and expatriates spooked by years of virus curbs and Beijing's tightening political grip following 2019 anti-government protests.
South Korea population
South Korea announces its 2022 birth data. The Yoon Suk Yeol government is encouraging young couples to have more babies by paying 700,000 won ($540) per month to a family with a child less than a year old. The payment will be raised to 1 million won from next year.
The government introduced the "parents subsidy" in January as the country's total fertility rate dropped to 0.81 in 2021 from 0.84 a year ago, meaning that a woman in the country is expected to have less than one child in her lifetime. South Korea's total fertility rate was the lowest among 38 OECD members in 2019.
Earnings: Baidu, iQiyi
Monetary policy: New Zealand
China NPC Standing Committee convenes
China's National People's Congress Standing Committee will meet for two days to prepare for the top legislature's annual gathering in Beijing next month. Items on the agenda include a deliberation on a work report to be presented to the gathering and finalizing election procedures for a new committee.
Earnings: Alibaba, NetEase, Grab, UOB
Monetary policy: South Korea, Turkey
One year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Friday marks one year since Russia launched its deadly and full-scale invasion of Ukraine, shaking the global economy. Asia has felt the impact in myriad ways, from geopolitical divisions to high inflation and food shortages. As the conflict enters its second year, there are concerns over a renewed Russian offensive -- and the further economic and human toll that would entail.
Next BOJ gov. speaks in Diet
Bank of Japan Gov.-nominee Kazuo Ueda speaks in a confirmation hearing at the lower house of parliament, giving investors clues as to how he will steer the monetary policy that is widely expected to move toward normalization after a decade of extraordinary credit easing under current Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda.
Japan January inflation data
Japan releases its consumer inflation data for January, which will be closely watched as the government encourages employers to increase wages. December's core consumer price index -- all items minus fresh foods -- rose 4% from a year earlier, hitting a 41-year high.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim tables a refreshed budget for 2023. This will be his maiden budget as prime minister and finance minister, and the feedback on the revised allocation will set the tone on his government's approval rating.
Anwar has said the budget will focus on economic issues, such as improving infrastructure and investment, and will continue deploying initiatives to control inflationary pressures. He also promised to make the issue of people's living costs a top priority upon taking up the leadership.