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Japan’s LNG shielded from Europe price spike for now

Japan’s reliance on fixed, long-term contracts for its natural gas supply should limit the impact on consumers of the recent surge in gas spot prices currently being felt most acutely across parts of Europe.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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Japan Economics Weekly

Respite for BoJ doesn’t weaken case for a policy tweak

Pressure on the Bank of Japan’s Yield Curve Control framework eased this week. On the campaign trail for the Upper House election, where inflation has emerged as a key concern, Prime Minister Kishida said that monetary tightening would do more harm than good. Even more welcome for the BoJ, pressure emanating from the bond market has dropped back too. It had to buy less than a tenth as many JGBs this week as last. Some might feel that this reduces the need to shore up the policy framework. But a respite provides a window in which to make it more resilient.
Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

24 June 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Consumer Prices (May 2022)

While inflation didn’t rise any further in May, it will remain above the BoJ’s 2% target until early-2023, while underlying inflation will approach 2%. However, the Bank won’t respond with tighter policy. Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

24 June 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Flash PMIs (Jun. 2022)

The PMIs suggest that supply shortages are still holding back manufacturing output and adding to price pressures. On a more upbeat note, the surveys also point to a strong pick-up in consumption as the economy rebounds from the Omicron wave and international tourists return. Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

23 June 2022

More from Tom Learmouth

Japan Chart Book

Next PM will benefit from vaccine booster

The race to become the new LDP leader – and with it PM – formally began on Friday. With Delta cases plunging and the vaccination rate having caught up with many other advanced economies, whoever wins should be able to lift domestic restrictions and ride a strong recovery in Q4. Kono is by the far the most popular of the four candidates with the LDP-supporting public and, along with Kishida, currently has the most support amongst LDP lawmakers. (See Chart 1). Ishiba Shigeru – a rival to Kono in the popularity stakes who announced last week that he will not stand – is backing Kono, as is outgoing PM Suga. Ex-PM Abe’s long-term rival Ishiba has criticised Abenomics for favouring corporate profits over wages, and Kono appears to have absorbed some of his new supporter’s thinking in demanding this week that “we must shift our focus toward boosting household income, from corporate profits”. Kono has suggested a lower corporate tax rate for firms that distribute a high share of their income to their workers. And like all the other candidates, Kono has pledged to compile a stimulus package – to focus on renewable energy and 5G – which would provide another tailwind to the recovery over the coming months. We expect output to return to pre-virus levels in Q4 and to return to near its pre-virus path around the middle of next year.

20 September 2021

Bank of Japan Watch

PM frontrunner Kono may favour sharper taper

Dug in for an extended hold, the Bank of Japan won’t alter its major policy settings at its September meeting. Further ahead though, PM Suga’s successor – to be elected in two weeks’ time – may look towards prodding the Bank into shrinking its balance sheet.

16 September 2021

Japan Data Response

Japan Machinery Orders (Jul. 2021)

The rise in machinery orders in July and optimistic projections for August and September support our view that business investment will rise strongly again across Q3. And private investment should continue to rebound in Q4 and into next year as vaccines allow domestic restrictions to be lifted.

15 September 2021
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