Experts wait for rash of new figures
FOUR sets of statistics due out this week - three domestic, one foreign - will be monitored more closely than normal by analysts attempting to get a handle on local economic trends.
First up will be the orders-on-hand figures for manufacturing industry which come out tomorrow. These have been declining in recent months in line with falls in domestic exports.
The April figures, which are the ones to be released, are unlikely to show any change in that recent trend. The May consumer price index figures, which are out on Tuesday, will also be watched closely to determine whether there are any signs of upward pressure on the inflation front.
Recent rent rises, the strong Japanese yen and stable Chinese yuan, as well as rises in global commodity prices, might see additional inflation pressures emerge in the near future.
April retail sales figures are out on Thursday and should give an indication of any signs of an easing in buoyant domestic consumer demand.
And the US trade figures on Tuesday will be monitored for the trend in US exports to China and the overall US deficit for the month, following Chinese claims that US exports are likely to grow as a result of MFN renewal.
Ian Perkin is chief economist with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed here are his own and may not necessarily reflect chamber policy.