Faster vaccine campaign allows rapid rebound

Japan’s lagging vaccine rollout has finally reached cruising speed, which should allow a rapid recovery in activity over the second half of the year. The labour market may soon be as tight as it was before the pandemic, but we expect this year’s jump in inflation to be short-lived. As such, the Bank of Japan will keep policy loose for the foreseeable future.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
Continue reading

More from Japan

Japan Chart Book

Hit to output from staff absences could be hard

Skyrocketing infections and a 10-day isolation requirement for close contacts of positive cases have resulted in a wave of staff absences in Japan. Domestic carmakers already struggling with chip shortages appear to have been among the first victims of strict isolation rules. Both Toyota and Honda were forced to close some production lines at the end of last week due to staff absences. Based on the National Institute of Infectious Disease’s analysis suggesting that each positive case has up to five close contacts, Nikkei estimates that 1.8 million people could be self-isolating by the end of the month. Assuming those in and out of the workforce are equally affected, that would translate into 1.3% of workers in Japan self-isolating. Despite a much lower caseload, that would be similar to staff absences in other advanced economies where we estimate that between 0.5% and 2% of workers are isolating. And with timely data provided by the Cabinet Office pointing to a surge in job vacancies at the end of the year, the wave of staff absences appears to be hitting just as firms are struggling to find new staff. Temporary hits to production from staff shortages will cause GDP to only tread water this quarter.

24 January 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Flash PMIs (Jan. 2022)

The January flash PMI suggests that the manufacturing sector continues to expand at a rapid pace, but there are mounting signs that firms are passing on higher input costs to consumers. By contrast, activity in the services sector has slumped.

24 January 2022

Japan Economics Weekly

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.

21 January 2022

More from Marcel Thieliant

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

RBA to hike rates in early-2023

By tapering its bond purchases and watering down its commitment to keep its policy rate unchanged until 2024, the RBA is paving the way for interest rate hikes in 2023.

6 July 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Manufacturing bottlenecks may be easing

The economic recovery stalled last quarter as the services sector was held back by virus restrictions and manufacturers suffered from chip shortages. However, with daily jabs now above the government's 1mn target and chip supply ramping up, activity is set for a strong rebound in the second half of the year.

2 July 2021

Australia & New Zealand Data Response

Australia International Trade (May 2021)

While export values hit a record high in May, this was largely driven by soaring export prices and export volumes probably dropped back. However, we think that the drag from net trade on GDP growth will fade before long as import volumes come off the boil.

1 July 2021
↑ Back to top