Bank to look through weaker yen and supply shortages

Sitting comfortably with continuity candidate PM Kishida in charge, the Bank of Japan won’t alter its major policy settings at its October meeting. And we doubt the Bank will respond with policy tweaks to the recent weakening in the yen, nor to continued supply chain disruptions.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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Japan Data Response

Labour Market & Industrial Production (Oct. 2021)

Employment fell sharply again in October despite the lifting of states of emergency declarations at the start of the month. However, it should rebound sharply across November and December in line with the revival in face-to-face service sector activity. And while industrial production only edged up in October, we think it too will rebound more strongly this month and next, potentially approaching its recent April peak in December.

30 November 2021

Japan Data Response

Japan Retail Sales (Oct. 2021)

Retail sales kept rising in October despite another drop in motor vehicles sales. With supply disruptions now starting to ease and mobility picking up, they should continue to increase.

29 November 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Government seeks to revive soggy chip industry

The breakdown of PM Kishida’s new supplementary budget released today showed that ¥600 billion has been allocated to reviving semiconductor manufacturing in Japan. The centrepiece of the plan is a new TSMC factory in Kumamoto Prefecture that will produce the mid-range chips critical for car production. Given recent supply disruptions caused by chip shortages, beefing up local production makes strategic sense. We think the government’s new interventionist approach to stimulating mid-range chip production may succeed, but plans to make inroads into high-range chip production are likely to fall flat.

26 November 2021

More from Tom Learmouth

Japan Data Response

Japan External Trade (Sep. 2021)

    The sharp fall in exports in September suggests that supply shortages are severely hampering manufacturing activity in some sectors. However, we think exports will soon bounce back as supply shortages for car producers gradually ease and machinery exports continue to expand at a fast pace.

20 October 2021

Japan Chart Book

Domestic headwinds fading

While parts of Japan’s manufacturing sector remain under severe pressure from global supply chain shortages, domestic headwinds to the recovery have dissipated further in recent weeks. That supports our view that a strong rebound is brewing. Breaking 23,000 in late-August, the seven-day average of new infections has fallen to around 500 this week – the lowest in over a year. And with the number of patients in intensive care also at its lowest in a year, hospitals now have clear breathing space. That reduces the chances of fresh states of emergency having to be declared to combat a potential winter wave. In recent days mobility has been stronger than it was at the same stage in October 2020 which ­– by some measures – was the strongest month of the pandemic so far for consumption. And Tokyo announced today that it will on Monday remove its 9pm curfew request for the more than 80% bars & restaurants complying with the latest virus guidelines. Driven by a strong rebound in face-to-face service sector activity, we expect GDP to rise by 1.7% q/q, taking it above the pre-virus level this quarter.

19 October 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Kishida dissolves parliament, firms look to seniors

The ruling LDP appears to be bracing for a slimming down of its lower house majority in the general election that will take place on 31st October. That would make tangible structural reform progress under PM Kishida even less likely. And while a large fiscal stimulus package will be compiled immediately after the election, it’s likely to sustain the elevated fiscal support of the past year rather than act as a fresh driver of growth. Meanwhile, firms appear to be readying themselves for renewed labour shortages once the economy reopens by drawing up plans to re-employ more seniors. We expect further increases in over-60s employment to drive labour force participation higher over the next few years.

15 October 2021
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