Four months after a historic Chinese Communist party congress was expected to answer most questions about Xi Jinping’s second five-year term in office, China’s president has demonstrated that he can still “shock and awe” his political rivals.

Until Sunday afternoon, most guessing games ahead of the March 5 opening of China’s annual parliamentary session focused on the imminent political reincarnation of Wang Qishan, the recently retired head of Mr Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, and the race to succeed Zhou Xiaochuan, the veteran central bank governor. 

But the party’s announcement that its central committee had recommended scrapping the two-term limit for the state president and vice-president was a reminder that in Mr Xi’s China, such personnel reshuffles matter much less now. One person with close ties to China’s leadership says that people worried about Mr Xi’s authoritarian tendencies are “ not just scared, they are desperate”.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Syndey’s S&P/ASX 200 to gain 0.5 per cent at the open, while Tokyo’s Topix is set to rise 0.4 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is expected to rise 0.3 per cent.

Corporate earnings reports out today include CLP Holdings, Nine Dragons Paper and NWS Holdings.

The economic calendar for Monday gets off to a late start (all times Hong Kong):

  • 13.00: Singapore industrial production
  • 16.00: Taiwan unemployment rate
  • Macau’s consumer price index and visitor arrivals are also slated for release today.

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