Sydney Energy Forum, Biden in Middle East, China GDP


Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

US President Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East this week. He will make a special stop in Saudi Arabia to try to mend ties with the kingdom amid rising oil prices at home. His Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be in Asia too, visiting Japan and South Korea as well as meeting G-20 finance ministers in Bali, Indonesia, to push for a price cap on Russian oil.

On Friday, China’s second quarter GDP data will be closely watched as it gauges the damage the country’s zero-COVID policy has caused to the country’s economy.

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MONDAY

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting

Leaders of the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum will meet in Fiji Monday through Thursday to discuss issues including climate change, China’s influence and COVID recovery. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern will both attend. ABC Australia previously reported that China, the US and other dialogue partners of the forum were excluded from the meetings this time in case geopolitical tensions between the big powers cause distraction.

TUESDAY

Australia, International Energy Agency host Indo-Pacific energy forum

The Quad grouping of the US, Japan, India and Australia expand their quadrilateral cooperation into the field of energy, with their energy ministers to meet on the sides of the two-day Sydney Energy Forum that begins Tuesday.

Energy security has come under the spotlight after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Moscow will nationalize the Sakhalin-2 gas project, in which Japanese trading houses have invested heavily.

US Treasury Secretary comes to Asia

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrives in Tokyo to start her first visit to the Indo-Pacific region in her current position. She will be in Japan for two days before flying to Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. South Korea will be her last stop where she will be discussing supply chains and imposing costs on Russia.

Yellen canceled a public event during the trip in Yokohama, Japan, out of deference following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Reuters reported.

WEDNESDAY

Biden visits Middle East

US President Joe Biden embarks on a four-day tour of the Middle East stopping in Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

His visit to Saudi Arabia, where he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be a break from a campaign promise to ostracize the kingdom, following the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president will request that the Saudis pump more oil to ease price pressure at gas stations.

Meanwhile, the visit comes as Israel and the United Arab Emirates explore deeper ties after normalizing relations in 2020. The fact that Biden will fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

China releases trade data

Monetary policy announcements: New Zealand, South Korea

THURSDAY

Singapore announces Q2 GDP

Company earnings: Fast Retailing, TSMC, Large Precision

FRIDAY

China economic data

China’s second quarter GDP numbers will provide a crucial pulse-check on the world’s second largest economy in the aftermath of sweeping COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities that hurt industrial production and consumption. A poll by Nikkei shows growth projection slowed on average by 1.4% on a quarterly basis. It comes on the back of global recession risks and Beijing’s insistence on its zero-COVID policy.

G-20 finance ministers meet in Bali

Finances and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major ministers convened for two days in Bali, an island in Indonesia. Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising global inflation, the ministers will discuss topics from digital economy to energy transition.

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