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Pandemic unlikely to herald period of higher inflation

With producer prices rising at their fastest pace in years and goods shortages showing no signs of easing, the risks to inflation seem to be tilted to the upside. However, we aren’t convinced that a prolonged period of stronger consumer price inflation is on the cards and only expect underlying inflation to average 0.7% next year.
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 Economic Outlook

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.

7 July 2021

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
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