Labour Cash Earnings (Apr.)

Wage growth turned negative in April at the height of efforts to contain the virus, and we expect wages to fall further over the coming months.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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Japan Economics Update

BoJ unlikely to lift interest rates anytime soon

The Bank of Japan today upgraded its assessment of inflation risks to “broadly balanced” for the first time since 2014. However, it reiterated its pledge to keep expanding the monetary base until inflation exceeds 2% and also signaled that it will keep interest rates low. With inflation set to fall well short of the BoJ’s 2% target for the foreseeable future, the Bank won’t be able to tighten policy.

18 January 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Machinery Orders (Nov. 2021)

The rise in machinery orders in November supports our view that business investment recovered strongly across Q4. And private investment should continue to rebound strongly this year as firms look past a brief hit from Omicron.

17 January 2022

Japan Economics Weekly

Strict isolation rules could cause severe shortages

While we think Japan’s economy entered 2022 just above its pre-pandemic level, consumer spending will probably be knocked back this quarter by light-touch restrictions which are likely to be reimposed across most of the country within the next couple of weeks. Moreover, the added transmissibility of Omicron is likely to lead to a sizeable wave of staff absences in Japan. While PM Kishida is set to reduce the isolation period for coronavirus patients and their close contacts from 14 to 10 days, that would still be a strict isolation regime when compared with most Western countries. All told, we think Omicron will limit the economy to just a 0.2% q/q rise this quarter before a rebound in growth across Q2 and Q3.

14 January 2022

More from Tom Learmouth

Japan Data Response

Japan Trade (May 2021) & Machinery Orders (Apr.)

Despite the spectacular y/y growth rates in May, the rebound in exports is showing signs of slowing. Indeed, we doubt external demand will provide much of a tailwind to growth over the coming months as global consumer goods demand weakens in the wake of vaccine rollouts. Meanwhile, the muted rise in machinery orders in April supports our view that business investment will have trodden water this quarter.

16 June 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Vaccines for all by November, ¥1000 minimum wage

The revised Q1 GDP figures and April wage data released this week suggest the economy was a little more resilient than first appeared in the early part of this year. And the economy is looking increasingly well set for a strong rebound in the second half of the year. Daily COVID cases and the number of patients in hospital have continued to plunge. With 98% of Japan’s municipalities expecting to be able to meet the government’s target of finishing vaccinations for the over-65s by end-July, the risk of the healthcare system being stretched to breaking point again is diminishing. The only remaining major downside risk now is the prospect of a more infectious variant – such as that first found in India – taking hold rapidly soon.

11 June 2021

Bank of Japan Watch

Asset purchases to remain low but rates on hold

At its June meeting we think the Bank of Japan may extend the deadline on its emergency lending facility from September to December. Beyond that point, it should further taper its purchases of short-dated debt as it digs in for a prolonged hold.

11 June 2021
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