Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Xinhua News Agency announced Thursday that China’s top party officials have set October 18 has the start date for the 19th National Congress in Beijing.

Aside from changes in leadership, which many expect will see Xi Jinping further consolidate authority by promoting allies into top posts, the meeting is an opportunity to set market moving policy agendas, as Bloomberg reports:

But the ‘Congress Put’ keeping markets calm won’t last, with the gathering a vehicle to dispense key messages about the party’s vision for China’s future. That could unleash a flurry of policy and regulatory activity once the agenda has been set and the delegates have returned home. Markets typically see volatility in the wake of party congresses, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

…The second critical aspect of the meeting will be the work report delivered on the first day, which sets the priorities for government policy in China for the next half decade. The importance of this document “can’t be stressed enough,” say analysts at Trivium, a research group co-founded by former Conference Board economist Andrew Polk.

“We are genuinely curious to see what happens here,” they wrote in a preview of the gathering. “Xi has changed tack several times and the debate over economic policy is still raging with no obvious conclusion — stay tuned.”

Xi Jinping’s success in consolidating power will also be closely watched. Many observers will measure this by whether he is able to amend a retirement age rule, which might be done by retaining 69-year-old Wang Qishan on the Standing Committee. Speculation has also swirled that he might block the elevation of potential successors to the SC, another signal that he would be eying a third term.