Richard Katz's January issue of the Oriental Economist includes reports on Why Japan Needs Boost in Productivity - Risk of Zero Per Capita Growth, The Abe-Putin tête-à-tête without Notetakers - “Secret Understanding”, and No Equivalent to Trump or Le Pen or Brexit - Why No Populism in Japan?
Rick's October issue of the Oriental Economist includes topics of Risk Averse Culture or Adverse Risk/Reward Ratio - Nurturing Entrepreneurs, Abe’s Agenda 2017 -Election being Planned, BOJ Waves the White Flag, Rightist Nihon Kaigi Organization-Is It Really a Menace? Japan Business Pessimistic Japan-China Political Ties Sour
The Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) failed negative interest rate policy (NIRP) is provoking increased opposition among the big banks and the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the ministry which protects them
Key points of this report, - The current profits of Japanese corporations have fallen in the last three quarters. For all corporations, current profits are down 16% from April-June 2015 - Among manufacturers, who are the biggest multinationals, profits are down a whopping 29% from three quarters ago to a level first reached 13 years ago in 2003 - In part, profits are down because sales have slumped, but an even bigger reason for the plunge in profits is that the ratio of profits-to-sales is down 13.5% from its peak in April-June 2015 - The roller coaster ride of the yen’s value has played a pivotal role in the roller coaster ride of profits; over the last five years, there has been a stunningly high 95% correlation between the profits:sales ratio and the value of the yen - Most of the impact of the ups and downs of the yen on profits is a pure accounting illusion, but one that, for a while, misled many foreign investors
Richard Katz's March 2016 issue of the Oriental Economist. Topics include Abe’s Approval: A Mile Wide, Just An Inch Deep, So Strong and Yet So Weak; Negative Rate Backfire, Tax Postponement Mulled; Raising Profits without Raising Sales, A New Bottom Line; Nuke Power Plans Don’t Add Up and Flood of New Diet Members Decimates LDP ‘Old Guard’ - Abe’s New Conservativism
Key points: - As we expected, public disenchantment has grown as Abenomics failed to deliver on its promises; in a new Nikkei poll, 50% of respondents said they were dissatisfied - However, we were wrong in our expectation that disenchantment with Abenomics would propel a steady erosion of Abe’s overall approval ratings; over the last year, approval has stabilized at around 40-50%, a high level for a PM with Abe’s tenure - There is growing expectation that Abe will call—and win—a double-election this summer of both Upper and Lower House; Abe will not, however, secure a two-thirds majority in both Houses needed to revise the Constitution
Key points: - Kantei considering another postponement of the consumption tax hike - This is partly due to upcoming election and partly due to ongoing bad news on consumer spending - Consumer spending in January was down a whopping 4% from a year ago - Spending is now even lower than it was in mid-2014 after the consumption tax was raised from 5% to 8% - Auto sales are down 20% from a year ago - Some economists see GDP falling again in January-March, after having fallen at a 1.4% annual rate in October-December
TOE Alert: Growing Number of Currency Traders See Yen Going to Y95-110 Per Dollar; Abe Aide Says Delay Consumption Tax
Key points: - Abe Advisor Honda calls for postponement of consumption tax hike - Investment bankers increasingly see yen moving to ¥95-110/$ during 2016 - Even MOF intervention seen as creating only temporary interruption in yen rise - Separating out the fundamental and technical factors
Richard Katz's December issue of the Oriental Economist includes reports of Getting to 2% Real Growth Productivity Revolution, How Much Productivity Growth is Needed? Talk with MOF’s Top Official, Japan's Software Industry - What Went Wrong? Taking the Lead on Climate Change - New Energy Model for PRC, Development Aids Climate Goals, and Cheap Yen, Lots of Buying - Tourism Explodes.
Richard Katz's September issue of TOE includes reports on How to Raise Wages, For Now, Abe Polls Bounce, Abe Opens Door with Statement on War, Abe’s Careful Speech, Economy Watch, an interview with Nicholas Lardy on China's stock market and an interview with Tokyo University assistant professor Matthew Brummer, an expert on innovation, to understand Japan’s status as a “tech power.”