Asian stock markets reported their first weekly gains in six weeks amid hopes that major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, might act to tackle deteriorating global economic conditions.
Comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart lifted market sentiment. Draghi noted that he stands ready to act if needed.
However, optimism faded Friday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remained noncommittal on monetary easing during his congressional testimony Thursday. Investors had hoped that future stimulus measures would be offered by the Fed chief.
A surprise rate cut from the Chinese central bank came as a relief to Asian markets, however, and reports of a possible bailout for troubled Spanish banks also buoyed sentiment.
Asian markets will likely begin the week with gains as Spain is expected to seek billions of dollars in bailout money from the European Central Bank to properly restructure its troubled banks, which could ease the most immediate concerns over the financial crisis in the euro areas.
Besides European and U.S. factors, Asian markets are geared up for heavy data this week, but most of the important data is scheduled to be released over the weekend when China reports most of its May numbers.
Analysts at Credit Agricole expect most of the releases from China to show a further slowdown in growth.
Industrial output, fixed asset investment, retail sales and exports will likely all show deceleration, and imports as well as foreign direct investment should contract, as both domestic and external demand slowed, and euro zone woes reduced confidence, a note from Credit Agricole said.
In Japan, the major economic event next week is the Bank of Japan's policy meeting Friday, after which the bank is expected to leave the present monetary policy setup unchanged. Apart from that, machinery orders for April are expected to show a 3.5 percent gain on from the previous month, while corporate goods prices for May are expected to report a 0.5 percent decline from the previous month.
Major Indian benchmark indices rose 4.7 percent from the lows seen earlier in the week. The market improved this week as the rupee strengthened a bit after falling to a record low of 56.52 against the dollar last week.
Data about April's industrial output and May inflation data are also scheduled to be released during the week. Industrial output is expected to show a recovery, and inflation will likely rebound. However, the main focus will be on the Reserve Bank of India's next major policy decision. Market participants seem confident that the Reserve Bank of India will intervene and ease monetary policy in an effort to boost economic growth.
Elsewhere, most of the data from the region will be positive, except for some weakness in exports from the Philippines in April. Retail sales in Singapore for April -- and Malaysia's industrial output -- are expected to recover.