Greece to remain in focus due to risky funding outlook| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 22 January 2022 09:33 GMT

Greece to remain in focus due to risky funding outlook

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) China's cooling growth prospects and an interest rate decision in Russia will shift the economic agenda away from the eurozone next week, although Greece remains firmly in the spotlight because of its precarious funding outlook.

China should provide further hints of the challenges it faces after the world's No. 2 economy depicted its "new normal" last week - a growth target of seven per cent for this year, the lowest for quarter of a century. Chinese retail sales growth is expected by some analysts to have slowed slightly in February, with industrial production and investment growth data due out next week seen weaker too.

As Chinese leaders try to mould a more balanced long-term growth model, keeping the breakneck economic expansion of recent decades in check, all eyes will be on the reforms they are expected to outline further in the coming days. "Asia will be firmly in focus," Standard Chartered analyst Madhur Jha said.

As markets digest China's warning shots, the eurozone's ups and downs will not be far from investors' minds.

A four-month respite for Athens after it extended a bailout programme has done little to ease concerns that Greece may face a cash crunch before then. Its funding options will take centre-stage at a Monday meeting of eurozone finance ministers, who will discuss the economic reforms Athens hopes will help it unlock some financial aid from international lenders.

The government sent an updated list of reforms to Brussels on Friday and said it wanted to start talks with lenders immediately on concluding its bailout and a possible follow-up deal. It also repaid part of an International Monetary Fund loan that falls due this month.

Industrial production figures for the single currency area, due on Thursday, are expected to support this encouraging picture, rising slightly after a year-on-year fall in December, and echoing a strong start to the year for German output.

After strong labour data on Friday from the United States, attention will shift to retail sales numbers due on Thursday. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services - "core" retail sales, considered to the best gauge of households' spending patterns - edged up only 0.1 per cent in January.

A series of interest rate decisions also pepper the economic calendar, with Russia likely to hog headlines on Friday. Its central bank is expected to hold rates steady at 15 per cent.

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