Feb. 10 - Bank of Japan meets as bad Q4 economic news expected, while in China a possible spike in loans to cushion slower growth, and a watch on the yuan as VP Xi Jinping visits the U.S.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL A stronger yen, a major bump in the road for Japan's exports. And pressure is mounting on the government to stem the currency's red-hot rise. Data are expected to show the economy shrank in Q4, with exporters hurt by floods in Thailand, the yen and the European crisis. The bad news is enough to finally spur the BOJ into action, says Paul Mackel: (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF ASIA CURRENCY RESEARCH, HSBC, PAUL MACKEL, SAYING: "I think the risks are very high that the Bank of Japan is set to intervene, I think they're trying to communicate to the market that they are getting very uncomfortable with yen strength." Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits Washington, and markets are watching for goodwill gestures, especially more yuan appreciation. Data should show a spike in new yuan loans, reinforcing the view that Beijing is gently relaxing policy to cushion the impact of slowing growth, says Fraser Howie: (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTHOR, RED CAPITALISM, FRASER HOWIE, SAYING: "There are a lot of stresses into the economy so it's only going to be natural for the government to ease up to some extent and let credit back into their economy." Food is the hot topic in India. Inflation remains a key risk. The headline figure hit a two-year low in December. But a rebound in January would give India's central bank more reason to hold off on slashing interest rates. Tessa Dunlop, for Reuters.