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New Bank of Japan Governor unlikely to lift rates

The Bank of Japan left policy settings unchanged today and while a new Prime Minister could appoint a more hawkish BoJ Governor, we expect the Bank to keep interest rates unchanged for years.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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Japan Chart Book

Output will return to pre-virus trend eventually

With a record virus wave sweeping across the country and consumer confidence slumping, we’re slashing our forecast for Q3 consumption growth from 0.8% to 0.2%. While the government has refrained from declaring another state of emergency, spending was weakening even before virus cases started to surge. That means that GDP will remain much weaker in the near term than the pre-pandemic trend, forcing the Bank of Japan to keep policy loose even as central banks elsewhere are tightening the screws. However, we still expect that gap to close eventually, for two reasons. First, while the long-running rise in the labour force participation rate stalled over the last couple of years, the share of the population available for paid employment is now on the rise again. What’s more, mobility has recently reached pre-virus levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic, which suggests that households are learning to live with the virus even if currently they are not spending as before. The still very high household savings rate should fall in earnest before long.

8 August 2022

Japan Economics Weekly

The rise and fall of Japan's energy imports

Japan is still struggling to wean itself off fossil fuels despite a new government push to boost solar power. However, the country has become more energy efficient over the past decade, which has helped the economy weather the impact of rising global energy prices. Meanwhile, the government has recommended a 3.3% rise in the minimum wage, the largest move on record. While overall wage growth would get a boost over the next year, we think it would still remain well below the 3.0% level the BoJ maintains is needed to sustain inflation above its 2.0% target  

5 August 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Labour Cash Earnings (Jun. 22)

The jump in wage growth in June was mostly driven by a surge in summer bonus payments and the Bank of Japan’s 3% wage growth target will remain out of reach for a while yet. More positively, the strength in overtime hours suggests that Japan is finally learning to live with the virus.

5 August 2022

More from Marcel Thieliant

Japan Economics Focus

What does deglobalisation mean for Japan?

There are good reasons to think that the natural stalling in globalisation underway won’t do much damage to Japanese manufacturers. And while an abrupt severing of supply chains between China on the one hand and the US and its allies on the other would be highly disruptive, Japanese firms would benefit in the long-run as they could step into the breach. Perhaps the biggest risk is that a more nationalist China focused on raising self-sufficiency makes it increasingly difficult for Japanese firms to operate there.

21 September 2021

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

Australia- Shipping costs to boost inflation next year

Soaring shipping costs will exacerbate the impact of the weaker exchange rate on import price inflation. Indeed, we expect underlying inflation to return into the RBA’s 2-3% target next year.

20 September 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Struggling to generate inflation even now

While inflation in most advanced economies is now well above central banks’ targets, it is still negative in Japan. This is largely due to idiosyncratic factors that should fade by the middle of next year. Even so, inflation won’t reach the Bank of Japan’s 2% target anytime soon.

17 September 2021
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