Goldman Sachs strategists don't foresee a material impact from the elections on monetary policy in the short term but do revise their forecast for the onset of rate cuts, now expecting easing to start in July rather than May. They cite an elevated USD/KRW rate and lingering central bank concerns about the currency impact of large rate differentials with the U.S. They pencil in a second cut for the fourth quarter.


Friday will be a big day for Singapore markets, starring the central bank's monetary-policy decision as well as advance estimates for first-quarter GDP growth.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is likely to keep its monetary policy--which is centered on the city-state's exchange rate--unchanged at the meeting, Goldman Sachs's economics research team said in a recent report.

Moody's Analytics also said stubborn core inflation backs the case for keeping monetary-policy settings steady. While headline and core inflation have been on a bumpy downward path, the latter remains defiantly above the central bank's 2% target, economist Denise Cheok said in a note.

If the inflation outlook stabilizes, MAS might loosen monetary settings in the latter part of the year, she said.

The first-quarter growth data will show whether Singapore's economy has gotten off to a stronger start this year after a lackluster performance in 2023.

DBS Group Research predicts steady first-quarter GDP growth of 2% or more on year, close to the fourth-quarter reading, the bank's research team said in a note. Beyond the base effects, economic support comes from external-led, tourism-linked and construction sectors, they said.

Recent PMI readings bode well for the country's economic growth after a slightly shaky start to the year, said Selena Ling, chief economist and head of global markets research and strategy at OCBC.


On Wednesday, the Bank of Thailand will make a policy announcement against a backdrop of a depreciating currency, lackluster growth, and government pressure to cut rates to boost the economy.

The decision will be a close call, Nomura analysts said. Recent data suggest room for a cut: the BOT's monthly report showed slow economic growth, with private consumption indicators--which the bank watches closely--improving gradually and unevenly, Nomura's Charnon Boonnuch and Euben Paracuelles said. The likelihood of persisting negative inflation adds to the case for easing. On the other hand, stronger-than-expected consumption and manufacturing growth could see a cut delayed until June instead.

Any messaging on the embattled baht will be closely watched.

The BOT cutting ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve would weigh on the Thai currency, Maybank analysts said. Consensus views are for two cuts by the Thai bank this year. Any hints of more easing than that would raise the risk of further baht depreciation, though this seems unlikely, the analysts said.

Another factor is the again-delayed government cash handout plan. Economists have been eyeing the so-called digital wallet scheme for some time, as it has the potential to stoke inflation but also provide an economic boost.

BMI analysts cut their growth forecasts for Thailand after the multi-billion dollar initiative was again delayed, but now see a higher chance of an earlier rate cut, possibly before the end of 1H, as the inflationary impact of the fiscal plan is no longer an immediate concern for the BOT.


The Philippines central bank will make its rate call on Wednesday after data showed that headline inflation intensified in March amid high food prices.

The government has also lowered growth estimates for this year and the next, in part due to the effect of higher rates, but said the economy will still be among the fastest-growing in the region.

"Growth is still expected to remain reasonable this year, which should help avoid creating too much pressure on the BSP to ease rates quickly," Maybank analysts said.

Economists broadly expect the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to stand pat as it waits for inflation to settle and minds the interest-rate gap with the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"The BSP has the luxury of time to keep rates high for longer to make sure inflation expectations are well anchored and the USD-PHP is stable," HSBC's Aris Dacanay said.

Dacanay projects that the much-awaited easing cycle will start in the third quarter, when inflation returns to target. Extensions of tariffs for rice--a key catalyst for inflation--and the fading of unfavorable base effects could help calm inflation but the impact of El Nino remains a major source of uncertainty for food prices.

Goldman Sachs strategists think inflation will re-accelerate in the second quarter due to less favorable base effects, and don't pencil in a rate cut until the final quarter of the year.

(All references to days for Asian events are in local times.)

--Additional reporting by James Glynn, Kwanwoo Jun, Ronnie Harui, Xiao Xiao, Amanda Lee, Dominic Chopping, Emese Bartha and Miriam Mukuru

Write to Jessica Fleetham at and Fabiana Negrin Ochoa at


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