Participation rate set to fall further

The pandemic has brought a halt to the last decade’s rise in Japan’s participation rate which had allowed the labour force to expand despite challenging demographics. Any post-pandemic recovery is likely to be short-lived: we expect the participation rate to drop back over coming decades and the labour force to be 17% smaller by 2050.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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Japan Economics Update

BoJ unlikely to lift interest rates anytime soon

The Bank of Japan today upgraded its assessment of inflation risks to “broadly balanced” for the first time since 2014. However, it reiterated its pledge to keep expanding the monetary base until inflation exceeds 2% and also signaled that it will keep interest rates low. With inflation set to fall well short of the BoJ’s 2% target for the foreseeable future, the Bank won’t be able to tighten policy.

18 January 2022

Japan Data Response

Japan Machinery Orders (Nov. 2021)

The rise in machinery orders in November supports our view that business investment recovered strongly across Q4. And private investment should continue to rebound strongly this year as firms look past a brief hit from Omicron.

17 January 2022

Japan Economics Weekly

Strict isolation rules could cause severe shortages

While we think Japan’s economy entered 2022 just above its pre-pandemic level, consumer spending will probably be knocked back this quarter by light-touch restrictions which are likely to be reimposed across most of the country within the next couple of weeks. Moreover, the added transmissibility of Omicron is likely to lead to a sizeable wave of staff absences in Japan. While PM Kishida is set to reduce the isolation period for coronavirus patients and their close contacts from 14 to 10 days, that would still be a strict isolation regime when compared with most Western countries. All told, we think Omicron will limit the economy to just a 0.2% q/q rise this quarter before a rebound in growth across Q2 and Q3.

14 January 2022

More from Marcel Thieliant

Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

Omicron could add to inflationary pressure

If Omicron were able to evade existing vaccines, a renewed period of lockdowns would be required which would force the RBA to step up its bond purchases. Inflation would fall initially as crude oil prices would continue to weaken, but disruptions to transportation networks coupled with continued strength in goods demand would add to the upward pressure on goods prices. However, for now the activity data suggest that the economy is roaring to life after the recent lockdowns and we’re sticking to our above-consensus GDP forecast of 5% for next year.

3 December 2021

Australia & New Zealand Data Response

Australia International Trade (Oct. 2021)

While it’s early days, the October trade figures suggest that net trade will turn into a drag on GDP growth yet again as imports rebound after the end of lockdowns.

2 December 2021

Australia & New Zealand Data Response

Australia CoreLogic House Prices (Nov.)

Housing demand remains very strong, but rising interest rates and lending restrictions should result in a further slowdown in house price growth next year.

1 December 2021
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