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Your Week in Asia

Davos 2023, China GDP, Chinese Lunar New Year starts

Your weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political events

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

Political and business leaders will gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Japan will report trade statistics for 2022 and inflation data for December, while its central bank will give a policy update on Wednesday.

The market will also be watching gross domestic product figures from China. The world's second largest economy might also release its latest population data before it starts the seven-day Chinese New Year holidays on Saturday.

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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos

The five-day annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will kick off in the secluded resort town of Davos in eastern Switzerland. It will be the first time since 2020 that the gathering will take place in its traditional January slot, after the COVID-19 pandemic disruption of 2021 and 2022. The event is due to be attended by 52 heads of state and government, including President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines.

It will see its highest-ever participation from the business community, according to the organizer, with discussion of pressing global issues, including geopolitical fragmentation, climate change, investment, frontier technologies, gender and more.


China releases GDP, other data

China is scheduled to announce GDP growth rates for the last quarter and the 2022 full year, along with other key economic data. The country's zero-COVID strategy had weighed on growth, notably when GDP grew modestly at 0.4% in the second quarter, before recovering to 3.9% in the third. Businesses continued to face headwinds with the abrupt relaxing of COVID restrictions last month, as outbreaks of the omicron virus variant swept the nation.

Other upcoming data to watch out for is the country's population growth in 2022, following a plunge of its natural growth rate to 0.034% in 2021, the slowest since 1960.

North Korea Supreme People's Assembly

North Korea convenes a session of its top legislative body, the Supreme People's Assembly. The session will mainly focus on economic and budgetary issues to boost the isolated economy at a time when global concerns are growing about Pyongyang's increasingly aggressive missile launches.


Japan monetary policy announcement

The Bank of Japan is expected to hold course at its monetary policy meeting Jan. 17-18, after a surprise widening of the 10-year yield band less than a month ago. But the new band is already under pressure from speculative selling, and some investors are looking for another BOJ move to expand the yield range.

Macao junket boss Alvin Chau trial verdict

Macao's court hands down a verdict for junket king Alvin Chau after he was charged with a string of alleged offenses, including fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling, that could see him spend decades in prison if convicted. The Suncity founder, along with his colleagues, are accused of cheating the world's biggest gaming hub out of about $1 billion in tax revenue.

Chau was once seen as a pillar of the city. His arrest in 2021 came as a surprise to many in the industry and signaled Beijing's tightening grip over the sector. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Japan 2022 tourism statistics

Japan's National Tourism Organization publishes an estimate of visitor arrivals in December and throughout 2022. Since Japan reopened its borders in October, the number of visitor arrivals increased from around 206,641 in September to an estimated 934,500 in November. Despite the upward trend, the total number of foreign arrivals last year is expected to be well below the total of about 31.8 million in 2019.


Bangkok's new train terminal opens

Thailand will officially open Bang Sue Grand Station, Southeast Asia's most modern rail terminus. The station, which has been revamped from the former Bang Sue Junction and auspiciously renamed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn as "Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal" -- meaning 'Bangkok's prosperity' -- will serve as a key city transport hub, the center of all 52 rail routes and with connections to Thailand's three main airports, as well as the Airport Rail Link. It will serve, too, as a stop along the future rail line linking Kunming in China with Singapore.

Japan trade data for 2022

Japan is expected to report a massive trade deficit for 2022 due to the higher cost of energy and the weak yen, which increased the import costs of food and other materials. According to the Finance Ministry, the country's trade deficit for the January-November period reached 18.5 trillion yen ($140 billion), surpassing the past yearly peak of $12.8 trillion yen in 2014.

Monetary policy announcements: Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey


Japan December CPI

Japan releases consumer inflation data for December. The core consumer price index for the Tokyo metropolitan area released on Jan. 10 -- seen as a leading indicator for the nationwide figure -- pointed to a 4.0% rise from a year earlier, the sharpest increase in more than 40 years.


Lunar New Year

Ethnic Chinese across the world will usher in the "Year of Rabbit" under the Lunar calendar, while share markets in mainland China will close through Friday. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam will also mark the new year with national holidays.

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