Why is inflation still so low in Japan?

The continued weakness in Japan’s inflation is partly due to the recent plunge in mobile phone tariffs and the long lags between global energy prices and household utility bills. Indeed, inflation is set to rise next year. But more muted cost pressures in manufacturing than in other advanced economies coupled with the reluctance of Japanese firms to raise output prices mean that inflation won’t surge as it has elsewhere.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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Japan Data Response

Labour Market & Industrial Production (Oct. 2021)

Employment fell sharply again in October despite the lifting of states of emergency declarations at the start of the month. However, it should rebound sharply across November and December in line with the revival in face-to-face service sector activity. And while industrial production only edged up in October, we think it too will rebound more strongly this month and next, potentially approaching its recent April peak in December.

30 November 2021

Japan Data Response

Japan Retail Sales (Oct. 2021)

Retail sales kept rising in October despite another drop in motor vehicles sales. With supply disruptions now starting to ease and mobility picking up, they should continue to increase.

29 November 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Government seeks to revive soggy chip industry

The breakdown of PM Kishida’s new supplementary budget released today showed that ¥600 billion has been allocated to reviving semiconductor manufacturing in Japan. The centrepiece of the plan is a new TSMC factory in Kumamoto Prefecture that will produce the mid-range chips critical for car production. Given recent supply disruptions caused by chip shortages, beefing up local production makes strategic sense. We think the government’s new interventionist approach to stimulating mid-range chip production may succeed, but plans to make inroads into high-range chip production are likely to fall flat.

26 November 2021

More from Marcel Thieliant

Australia & New Zealand Economic Outlook

Rising inflationary pressures to prompt tightening

Domestic demand is set to rebound from recent lockdowns and labour markets should remain tight. Meanwhile, soaring energy and food prices will keep inflation high for a prolonged period. To be sure, the Reserve Bank of Australia won’t respond to high headline inflation until wage growth picks up in earnest. However, with severe staff shortages and limited immigration, the bargaining position of workers is strong and we expect Australia’s wage growth to reach 3% by the end of next year. We expect the RBNZ to hike rates to 1.5% next year and the RBA to start lifting rates in early-2023.

14 October 2021

Australia & New Zealand Data Response

Australia Labour Market (Sep.)

While employment plunged yet again in September, hours worked started to rebound and the end of lockdowns will result in a rapid recovery in the labour market over coming months.

14 October 2021

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

Structural slowdown in China a key threat to Australia

Australia’s exports to China are even more vulnerable to a slowdown in the property sector than they were before the trade spat as iron ore has gained in importance. We think that China’s steel demand will fall before long and even if it doesn’t, a shift to electric arc furnaces is a big threat to Australian miners.

13 October 2021
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