Nationwide state of emergency touch and go

Off the back of the weak Q1 GDP data, we now expect output to only rise 2% across 2021. The economy is unlikely to recover much in Q2 as cases are close to record highs and calls for a nationwide state of emergency growing. Moreover, only 4% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. However, we still think there will be a strong recovery from mid-Q3. While distortions in the number of tests conducted during and since the Golden Week holiday period make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions, daily cases have been falling in recent days. Encouragingly, new infections have fallen sharply in Osaka and Hyogo since states of emergency were declared in those prefectures three weeks ago. As the first prefectures where the UK variant took hold, Osaka and Hyogo should be ahead of the nationwide curve. And the vaccine rollout is accelerating. A record 483,328 jabs were administered on Monday.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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Restrictions may not last long, key Shunto approaching

With restrictions this week expanded to cover most of Japan’s economy, and surging infections already starting to cause staff shortages in some industries, GDP is only likely to tread water this quarter. But based on experience elsewhere, the Omicron surge may only last another couple of weeks before staff shortages ease and countermeasures start to be lifted again. Meanwhile, reports suggesting that Toyota’s labour union – sometimes seen as a bellwether in wage talks – will seek a sharp rise in bonus payments at this year’s Shunto could be an early sign that wage growth will pick up this year in line with PM Kishida’s wishes.

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21 January 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan External Trade (Dec. 2021)

Exports were broadly stable in December after a sharp rebound in November. We think they’ll continue to recover at a decent pace this year as external demand for capital goods continues to rise and motor vehicle exports resume their recovery once Omicron waves subside.

20 January 2022

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Japan Wages & Household Spending (May 2021)

While the further acceleration in wage growth in May was again largely down to favourable base effects, we think wage growth will stay elevated as the labour market tightens and vaccines fuel a further recovery in overtime pay. Meanwhile, the only modest drop in household spending in May suggests that consumer spending may have edged up last quarter.

6 July 2021

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1 July 2021

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Transition to carbon neutral 2050 wouldn’t harm growth

Achieving net zero emissions in Japan in three decades is a difficult but achievable task. And while the most carbon-intensive sectors may face significant headwinds, overall we agree with PM Suga that economic growth wouldn’t have to be sacrificed to reach his goal of a carbon neutral 2050.

29 June 2021
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