The annual National People’s Congress (NPC) in China kicked off with little surprise, maintaining its 2024 GDP and CPI targets at approximately 5.0% and 3.0%, respectively, similar to the previous year’s figures. Despite experiencing deflation in the Chinese economy, the unexpected CPI target could signal a shift. Notably, the absence of last year’s phrase “housing is for living in, not speculation” may indicate potential measures to aid the property sector.

The NPC also announced the issuance of significant government bonds, though the extent of their impact on the real economy remains uncertain. Plans for Big Data research and an “AI Plus” initiative were also revealed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and tech sector experienced declines in the market, while the Shanghai Composite saw marginal gains. Despite NPC pledges, Chinese EV shares faced losses.

Economic data across Asia showed mixed results, with China’s Caixin Services PMI slightly below estimates, while Australia’s Q4 current account displayed a higher-than-expected surplus. Tokyo’s CPI figures in Japan remained broadly in line with expectations, and South Korea’s Q4 GDP figures met estimates.

Looking ahead, the focus is on the US ISM Services PMI. Other upcoming events include Australia’s Q4 GDP, the UK budget speech, the US Fed Powell testimony, the ECB rate decision, and US Nonfarm Payrolls.

Bitcoin surged to nearly $69,000 before experiencing sharp volatility. US equity futures continued their correction during Asian trading hours.

The euro, yen, Australian dollar, and New Zealand dollar remained within specific trading ranges in currency markets. Gold and crude oil prices experienced minor fluctuations, while copper prices remained relatively stable.

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