Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while the prime ministers of Japan and India talk in New Delhi.
Thailand’s House of Representatives will end its four-year term on Thursday, but the dissolution of the lower house is expected to come before the term ends. The dissolution announcement will effectively kick off the campaign season for the general elections slated to take place in early May.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify before the U.S. Congress this week to address concerns from lawmakers regarding the app’s security and American users’ privacy. The market will also be closely watching the Fed’s next interest rate decision, which it will make on Wednesday.
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Xi visits Russia
Chinese President Xi Jinping starts a three-day state visit to “no limits” partner Russia for a summit with his counterpart Vladimir Putin, raising expectations that Xi might propose a truce toward ending the war in Ukraine. It comes after China’s and Ukraine’s foreign ministers spoke on Thursday about “prospects” for talks on the back of a position paper issued by Beijing last month that called for a peaceful settlement to Russia’s yearlong war.
Kishida meets Modi
Russia’s war in Ukraine and burgeoning Indo-Pacific cooperation among the Quad partners are expected to figure prominently during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The other two Quad members are the U.S. and Australia.
Kishida, the current G-7 president, and Modi, the current G-20 president, will also likely discuss their priorities as they lead the global blocs through 2023.
IMF decision on Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka expects the IMF’s executive board to approve a $2.9 billion bailout, after receiving assurances from key creditors including China and India. A green light from the IMF promises to help unlock other sources of funding and kick-start the bankrupt South Asian island’s economic recovery. But the government still has some tough reforms to undertake while resentment simmers among a public enduring high inflation and crippling shortages.
German education minister visits Taiwan
Germany’s Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger starts her three day visit to Taiwan. The agenda includes improving cooperation between Berlin and Taipei on semiconductors, battery research and supply chains. Media reports say she will not meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to avoid irritating China.
Earnings: Geely Automobile
Muslims start fasting from dawn to sunset for the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. There are an estimated 240 million Muslims in Southeast Asia, about 42% of all Southeast Asians. Eid al-Fitr, the holiday known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, is the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. It is one of Islam’s major religious holidays.
Bangkok Motor Show
Thailand’s annual motor show will be abuzz with EV makers that flocked to the kingdom last year, lured by investment and production incentives. Chinese automaker BYD was the big draw for consumers at a showcase in November, but Hyundai — with executives from South Korea taking charge of Thailand marketing for the first time — is looking to make a splash this week. Hyundai and other makers will be closely watched as to whether they announce any new EV production in Thailand.
TikTok CEO’s congressional hearing
At 10 a.m. in Washington, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to give his first congressional testimony before a House Energy and Commerce committee to address U.S. concerns over his app’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platform’s impact on children and the company’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. The hearing comes after the U.S. government asked TikTok parent ByteDance to sell all of its stake in the social media video app, Nikkei Asia reported on March 16.
Huawei smartphone launch
Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies launches its latest P60 flagship smartphone. The Chinese tech company has continued to introduce smartphones despite a crackdown by the U.S. government that began in 2019. Washington is reportedly to introduce a new round of export controls to limit Huawei’s access to 4G technologies and chips. The Chinese company has redesigned its smartphones to use more non-U.S.-origin components and chips but still relies on Qualcomm of the U.S. for the main chip in its 4G smartphones.
Japan February CPI
Japan releases consumer inflation data for February that will show the impact of rising food and energy costs. January’s core consumer price index rose 4.2% from a year earlier, the sharpest rise in more than 41 years.