Thursday December 08 2016
Japan GDP Growth Revised Down to 0.3% in Q3
Cabinet Office | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Japanese economy advanced 0.3 percent on quarter in the three months to September of 2016, below preliminary estimates of a 0.5 percent expansion. Domestic demand was flat and net trade contributed less to growth than initially estimated.

Domestic demand was flat (0.1 percent in the preliminary estimate) and showed no contribution to growth. Household consumption increased 0.3 percent (0 percent in the preliminary estimate) and private residential investment went up 2.6 percent (2.3 percent in the preliminary estimate) while non-residential investment shrank 0.4 percent (0 percent in the preliminary estimate). Public spending rose at a slower 0.3 percent (0.4 percent in the preliminary estimate) and public investment edged up 0.1 percent (-0.7 percent in the preliminary estimate).

Meanwhile, changes in inventories subtracted 0.3 percentage points from growth (-0.1 percentage points in the preliminary estimate).

External demand added 0.3 percentage points to growth (0.5 percent in the preliminary estimate), as exports of goods and services expanded 1.6 percent (2 percent in the preliminary estimate) while imports dropped 0.4 percent (-0.6 percent in the preliminary estimate).

On an annualised basis, Japan's economy grew 1.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016, lower than a 2.2 percent expansion in the preliminary reading.




Tuesday November 29 2016
Japan Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 3%
Statistics Japan l Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Japan was steady at 3.0 percent in October of 2016, the same as in September and in line with market expectations. The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.4 percent from 1.38 percent, hitting a new high since August 1991.

Compared to the previous month, there were 1.97 million unemployed persons, 50 thousand less than in September; employment rose by 60 thousand to 64.55 million and labour force also rose by 40 thousand to 66.54 million. Those detached from the labour force fell by 20 thousand to 44.15 million.
 
Among people aged 15 to 24 years old, the jobless rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent.
 
A year earlier, unemployment was higher at 3.2 percent. 




Friday November 25 2016
Japanese Consumer Prices Rise For 1st Time in 8 Months
Statistics Japan l Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Japan increased 0.1 percent year-on-year in October of 2016. It is the first rise in eight months boosted by higher fresh food prices. However, core consumer prices which exclude fresh food went down 0.4 percent, the eighth straight month of anual declines and in line with expectations.

Year-on-year, food prices went up 2.3 percent, following a 0.6 percent increase in September. It is the biggest rise since March, boosted by an 11.4 percent jump in fresh food cost, namely a 16 percent rise in fresh vegetables and a 10.1 percent increase in fresh fruit. Inflation rose for recreation and culture (1 percent compared to 0.3 percent in September); was flat at 1 percent for medical care and eased to 1.2 percent for clothing and footwear (1.5 percent in September).
 
In addition, prices declined at a slower pace for fuel, light and water charges (- 6 percent compared to -6.2 percent in September) and transportation and communication (-1.7 percent compared to -2.1 percent in September) but fell faster for housing (-0.2 percent compared to -0.1 percent in each of the previous six months).
 
On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent, following a 0.2 percent gain in September. It is the biggest increase since April of 2014.
 
In Tokyo, consumer prices rose 0.5 percent year-on-year in November, following a 0.1 percent gain in October while markets expected a 0.3 percent decline. Core consumer prices, which exclude fresh food, declined 0.4 percent from a year earlier, following a 0.4 percent drop in a month earlier and matching estimates. 




Monday November 21 2016
Japan Trade Surplus Widens Less Than Expected
Ministry of Finance l Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Japan recorded a JPY 496.2 billion trade surplus in October of 2016, 373.5 percent higher than a JPY 104.8 billion surplus a year earlier but lower than market expectations of JPY 615 billion. Exports declined 10.3 percent year-on-year, 13th consecutive drop and much worse than expectations of an 8.6 percent fall. Imports shrank at a faster 16.5 percent compared to forecasts of a 16.3 percent decrease.

Exports decreased to JPY 5869.9 billion. Sales went down mainly to the United States (-11.2 percent); China (-9.2 percent); the European Union (-9.5 percent); South Korea (-4.6 percent) and Taiwan (-2.8 percent). By product, declines were reported for transport equipment (-9 percent), namely cars (-9.1 percent); machinery (-7.9 percent), namely metalworking (-26.9 percent), parts of computer (-17.3 percent) and power generating machines (-8.1 percent); electrical machinery (-10.9 percent), namely semiconductors (-7.1 percent) and manufactured goods (-15.2 percent), namely iron and steel products (-19.3 percent).
 
Imports went down to JPY 5373.7 billion. Purchases from China shrank 17.9 percent and those from the United States fell 9.9 percent. By product, mineral fuels accounted the most for the decline (fell 27.5 percent), namely petroleum (-27.2 percent). 




Thursday November 17 2016
Japan Unveils Bond-Buying Program
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Bank of Japan said it would buy an unlimited amount of government bonds with between one and five years left to maturity at a fixed price on Thursday November 17th. It is the first time the central bank unveils such operation which is part of its yield-curve-control program launched in the September monetary policy meeting when it said it wanted to keep the 10-year bond yield around zero percent.

The move aimed to defend the yield curve, following a bond sell-off after Trump's victory, with the 10-year JGB yield turning positive during the week.

On Thursday, no bonds were bought as the central bank offered to buy two-year bonds at a yield of -0.09 percent and five-year bonds at -0.04 percent, higher than Wednesday's market rates. However, the yield on the 10-year bond retreated slightly.




Monday November 14 2016
Japan Economy Grows 0.5% QoQ in Q3
Cabinet Office | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Japan's gross domestic product advanced 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to September of 2016, following a 0.2 percent expansion in the previous period and beating market expectations of a 0.2 percent gain, preliminary estimates showed. It was the third consecutive quarter of growth, boosted by exports, government spending and private residential investment while household consumption stalled.

Compared with the second quarter of the year, external demand added 0.5 percentage points to growth, as exports of goods and services expanded 2 percent (-1.5 percent in Q2) while imports dropped for the fourth straight quarter by 0.6 percent (the same as in Q2).

Domestic demand contributed with 0.1 percentage points, mainly boosted by a 2.3 percent advance in private residential investment (+5 percent in Q2) and a 0.4 percent gain in government consumption (-0.3 percent in Q2). By contrast, public investment fell 0.7 percent (+2.3 percent in Q2) while households' consumption showed no growth.

Meanwhile, changes in inventories subtracted 0.1 percentage points.

On an annualised basis, Japan's economy grew 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2016, accelerating from a 0.7 percent expansion in the previous period and beating market expectations of 0.9 percent growth. It was the third straight quarter of expansion, led by external demand.


Tuesday November 01 2016
BoJ Holds Monetary Policy Steady
Bank of Japanl Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Bank of Japan left the interest rate unchanged at -0.1 percent at its October 2016 meeting, as widely expected. Policymakers also decided to maintain its 10-years government bond yield target around zero percent.

With regard to the amount of JGBs to be purchased, the bank will conduct buying at more or less the current pace -- an annual pace of increase of about 80 trillion yen.

The Policy Board also decided by a 7-2 vote to purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) so that their amounts outstanding will increase at an annual paces of about JPY 6.0 trillion and about JPY 90 billion, respectively. As for CP and corporate bonds, the Bank will maintain their amounts outstanding at about 2.2 trillion yen and about 3.2 trillion yen respectively. 

Meanwhile, at a quarterly reviews of the central bank's forecasts, again, it pushed back the timing for reaching its 2 percent inflation target to around fiscal year of 2018. Previously the bank said it would reach its target in fiscal 2017. The momentum toward achieving the price stability target of 2 percent seems to be maintained but somewhat weaker than in the previous outlook. For the next fiscal year ending in March 2018, the outlook for core consumer inflation is cut to 1.5 percent from 1.7 percent projected earlier in July. The forecast for the GDP came in at 1.3 percent, unchanged from the previous estimates.


Friday October 28 2016
Japan Jobless Rate Edges Down to 3% in September
Statistics Japan l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Japan fell to 3.0 percent in September of 2016 from 3.1 percent in August and slightly below market consensus. The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.38 in September, compared to 1.37 percent in August. It was the highest level since August 1991.

A year earlier, the unemployment rate stood at 3.4 percent.

In September 2016, the number of unemployed persons were 2.04 million, a decrease of 230 thousand (-10.1 percent from a year earlier). The number of employed persons were 64.97 million, an increase of 580 thousand (+0.9 percent from the previous year).

The labour force  rate grew 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 67.01 million and population aged 15 and over was flat at 110.80 million.

The labour force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 60.5 percent from 60.2 percent in September 2015.


Friday October 28 2016
Japan CPI Falls for 7th Month
Statistics Japan l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Japan dropped by 0.5 percent year-on-year in September of 2016, the same pace as in August and in line with market consensus. It was the seventh straight month of decline, as cost of housing and transport fell while food inflation was steady.

Year-on-year, cost declined for: housing (-0.1 percent in September from -0.1 in August); fuel, light and water charges (-6.2 percent from -7.2 percent), furniture and household utensils (-1.5 percent from -1.2 percent) and transport and communication (-2.1 percent from -2.3 percent). In contrast, prices rose for: food (+0.6 percent from +0.6 percent), clothes and footwear (+1.5 percent from +2.4 percent), medical care (+1.0 percent from +0.9 percent), education (+1.5 percent from +1.6 percent), culture and recreation (+0.3 percent from +0.4 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (+0.6 percent from +0.6 percent).

Core consumer prices also fell 0.5 percent, similar to August's figure. It was the seventh consecutive month of drop, matching estimates. The so-called core-core consumer prices, which excludes food and energy price were flat on the year on the year, following a 0.2 percent rise in a month earlier.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.2 percent, after remaining unchanged in August.

In Tokyo, consumer prices rose 0.1 percent year-on-year in October, following a 0.5 percent fall in September while market expected a 0.5 percent decline. Core consumer prices, which exclude fresh food, went up 0.1 percent from a year earlier, following a 0.5 percent drop in a month earlier and beating estimates of a 0.5 percent drop. 


Monday October 24 2016
Japan Trade Balance Swings to Surplus in September
Ministry of Finance l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Japan recorded a 498.34 JPY billion surplus in September of 2016, compared to a 121.29 JPY billion gap a year earlier and beating market consensus of a surplus 341.80 JPY billion, as exports fell less than imports.

Year-on-year, outbound shipments dropped by 6.9 percent to 5,968.43 JPY billion, following a 9.6 percent fall in August while market expected a 10.4 percent decline. It was the 12th straight month of decline as sales to most of the country's main export partners declined. Those to China decreased by 10.6 percent, followed by Hong Kong (-18.7 percent), South Korea (-1.6 percent), Singapore (-21.2 percent), Thailand (-9.6 percent), Malaysia (-7.7 percent), Indonesia (-3.5 percent), Vietnam (-0.2 percent) and India (-1.0 percent). Sales to the US decreased by 8.7 percent, the Middle East (-10.8 percent), Russia (-4.9 percent) and South Africa (-24.9 percent). In contrast, exports rose to Western Europe (+ 2.5 percent) and the EU countries (+0.7 percent).

By product, sales declined for: raw materials (-19.7 percent), mineral fuels (-34.0 percent), chemicals (-7.2 percent, mainly due to organic chemicals: -23.6 percent and medical products: -20.6 percent), manufactured goods (-13.3 percent), machinery (-2.1 percent, mostly due to power generating machine: -5.1 percent, computers and units: -10.0 percent), parts of computers: -12.2 percent, metalworking machinery: -16.4 percent and mechanical handling equipment: -20.4 percent), electrical machinery (-9.9 percent, contributed by semiconductors: -11.8 percent, visual apparatus: -13.8 percent and visual apparatus: -11.9 percent ), transport equipment (-6.0 percent) and others (-1.0 percent).

Imports fell 16.3 percent to 5,470.09 JPY billion, compared to a 17.3 percent drop in a month earlier while market estimated a 16.6 percent drop. It was the 21st consecutive month of decline as purchases from most of the country's trading partners decreased. Imports from China dropped by 16.7 percent, followed by Hong Kong (-9.8 percent), Taiwan (-10.1 percent), South Korea (-18.1 percent), Singapore (-27.2 percent), Thailand (-14.8 percent), Malaysia (-20.8 percent), Indonesia (-19.8 percent) and India (-18.8 percent). Those from the US decreased by 6.1 percent, Western Europe (-4.6 percent), Russia (-29.3 percent), the EU countries (-3.7 percent), the Middle East (-30.9 percent) and South Africa (-11.1 percent).

Purchases declined for most categories: foodstuff (-11.9 percent), raw materials (-13.1 percent, mainly due to wood: -7.4 percent, ore of nonferrous: -22.1 percent, iron ore and concentrates: -3.6 percent and soybeans: -8.9 percent), mineral fuels (-33.6 percent, largely due to petroleum: -28.6 percent, petroleum products: -49.6 percent, LNG: -40.1 percent: LPG -44.0 percent and coal: -18.1 percent),  chemicals (-11.3 percent), manufactured goods (-13.6 percent), machinery (-12.0 percent), electrical machinery (-11.0 percent) and others (-13.6 percent). In contrast, inbound shipments were higher for transport equipment (+3.4 percent, mainly due to aircraft: +111.2 percent).

In August 2016, the country posted a 19.2 JPY billion trade gap.