Dec. 30 - Europe looms large as Asia prepares to ring in 2012, with investors watching PMI data from China and India, as well as trade figures from Australia and Seoul. Tessa Dunlop reports.
Asia greets the new year, but for markets, it's not a festive time, as the European debt crisis looms large. And for the world, there's another potential problem -- China. The country will kick off 2012 with PMI. The manufacturing sector should have contracted for a second consecutive month as the weaker global economy hits demand. Manu Bhaskaran of Centennial Asia Advisors says Beijing needs to react. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CENTENNIAL ASIA ADVISORS DIRECTOR AND CEO, MANU BHASKARAN, SAYING: "The conditions are coming into place for a rapid easing of monetary policy, which I suspect will take the form of aggressive cuts to the reserve requirement ratios... (FLASH) fortunately the Chinese leadership has the fiscal resources and the political will and ability to turn around the situation reasonably effectively." India is facing even bigger problems. Growth is slowing more sharply, and expect more proof of that when the country reports its own PMI. Keep an eye on trade data from South Korea and Australia, too. Both are heavily exposed to the global economy, and trade data from each will signal how bad things could get in 2012. As growth slows in Asia, so will inflation. Indonesia is expected to report a continued fall in CPI. The country has already cut interest rates, And other central banks in the region will follow suit, according to Manpreet Gill from Standard Chartered: (SOUNDBITE)(English) SENIOR INVESTMENT STRATEGIST AT STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, MANPREET GILL, SAYING: "We believe that central banks will definitely ease policy a bit, especially in the first part of 2012, but we think that's less a function of inflation risk and more a function of the growth risk emanating from the risks in Europe in particular and potentially the U.S. So a new year in Asia... but little rest for the region's policymakers, for what is shaping up as a tough 2012. Tessa Dunlop, for Reuters.