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Virus fears waning, Bank of Japan plans could change

We doubt that the spike in mobility during Golden Week is a harbinger of a rapid rebound in consumer spending. Mounting concerns about rising living costs and lingering virus fears among the elderly will keep the savings rate well above pre-virus levels. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan this week ruled out widening the tolerance band around its 10-year yield target. However, markets remain unconvinced as yields continue to trade close to the ceiling of the band. We still expect the Bank to come under renewed pressure to defend the target, eventually forcing it to widen the tolerance band.  
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 Economics Update

Large pot of pandemic savings to collect dust

The hit to household incomes from higher inflation will be much smaller in Japan than elsewhere and consumers have plenty of pandemic forced savings to tap into to sustain spending. But we nonetheless expect the rebound in consumption to disappoint over the coming months as consumers are spooked by rare price hikes to everyday items and some remain wary of catching the virus. China Drop-In (12th May, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Join our China and Markets economists for a 20-minute discussion about near to long-term economic challenges, from zero-COVID disruptions to US-China decoupling. Register now.

11 May 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Labour Cash Earnings (Mar. 22)

Nominal wage growth stayed at 1.2% in March and we think it could touch 2% over the coming months as overtime and bonus payments get back to their pre-virus levels. But with base pay growth still weak, we think overall wage growth will fall back to 1% before long. China Drop-In (12th May, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Join our China and Markets economists for a 20-minute discussion about near to long-term economic challenges, from zero-COVID disruptions to US-China decoupling. Register now.

9 May 2022

Japan Economics Weekly

2.5% inflation, border to reopen to tourists in June

Despite a huge pot of excess savings accumulated over the past couple of years, today’s 2.5% inflation print for April is likely to slow the post-Omicron recovery by spooking consumers not used to price hikes. Meanwhile, we doubt PM Kishida’s announcement yesterday that he will reopen the border to tourists in June will do much to repair Japan’s shrinking current account surplus given that Chinese tourists won’t be returning any time soon. As such, we still expect the yen to weaken further to 140 against the dollar by the end of this year. China Drop-In (12th May, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Join our China and Markets economists for a 20-minute discussion about near to long-term economic challenges, from zero-COVID disruptions to US-China decoupling. Register now.

6 May 2022
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