What does Kishida’s victory mean for Japan?

Incoming PM Kishida has provided mixed signals on fiscal policy, pledging a large near-term stimulus while retaining ambitious medium-term consolidation plans. Given that he blamed deregulation for widening inequality, structural reforms will move further down the agenda. Meanwhile, his stance on China is hawkish: it’s likely that he’ll push back against further integration and support decoupling.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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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

Japan Data Response

Japan Consumer Prices (Dec. 2021)

Consumer price inflation reached a two-year high of 0.8% in December, but with energy prices set to fall back, we think that it will peak around 1% by mid-year.

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

More from Tom Learmouth

Japan Economics Weekly

States of emergency may end before LDP election

Reports this week that PM Suga is keen to end emergency declarations before leaving office on Wednesday are good for our view that output will rebound strongly to above pre-virus levels in Q4. Crucially, high vaccine coverage should ensure the lifting of most restrictions is permanent this time around. While the LDP leadership contest is set to be a close-run thing, Kono Taro remains the favourite. Were he to become PM, Mr Kono would be likely to distance himself from Abenomics and instead pursue an economic policy agenda more focused on deregulation and raising household incomes.

24 September 2021

Japan Data Response

Japan Consumer Prices (Aug. 2021)

Headline inflation stayed negative in August as a boost from Go To Travel base effects was offset by a major drag from fresh food inflation. But looking through one-off factors such as Go To and April’s mobile phone tariffs cuts, we think inflation will temporarily spike over the coming months due to upwards pressure on goods prices from continued supply shortages and the release of pent-up demand in the services sector in Q4.

24 September 2021

Japan Economics Update

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.

22 September 2021
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