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Consumer Prices (Aug.)

The slowdown in headline inflation in August has further to run once the sales tax hike leads to weaker price pressures. We think that inflation will eventually fall which will raise the clamour for monetary easing.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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Japan Data Response

Japan GDP (Q1 2022 Preliminary)

Japan’s economy only contracted slightly in Q1 as consumption held up well despite prolonged restrictions during the Omicron wave. But while the economy will bounce back this quarter, we think Japan’s delayed reopening recovery will look weak when stacked up against the reopening rebounds in other advanced economies last year.

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Japan Economics Weekly

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.  

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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.

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More from Marcel Thieliant

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

RBA may make QE more flexible

We now expect the RBA to refrain from announcing a target for the overall amount of bond purchases at the July meeting while keeping the weekly pace of purchases unchanged at $5bn. A more flexible approach to bond-buying would make it easier for the Bank to end QE by mid-2022 as we anticipate.

8 June 2021

Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

Solid Q1 GDP more than makes up for Q2 weakness

The strong rise in GDP in Q1 has prompted us to revise up our GDP forecasts for this year. And while the Victoria lockdown will weigh on consumption growth in Q2, sentiment is holding up so we expect consumption to rebound in Q3 once the lockdown is lifted. Finally, soaring demand for housing is driving record capacity constraints in the construction industry. With the border likely to remain closed until the middle of next year, construction firms will find it difficult to alleviate the labour shortages they are facing.

4 June 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Industry to benefit from recovery in capital spending

The slump in retail sales in April suggests that consumer spending may have fallen further during the third state of emergency. However, the medical situation is improving and the vaccination rollout is accelerating. And Japan’s traditional growth engine, its large manufacturing sector, is roaring back to life as industrial output is now above pre-virus levels. While GDP growth this year will fall short of expectations, we think it will be stronger than most anticipate in 2022.

4 June 2021
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