Japan Real Time Charts and Data

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Japan related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Japan data charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Is Japan Once More Back in Deflation?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Japan Industrial Production

The latest data on Japanese industrial production have raised some eyebrows. Below I am putting up a quick excel chart of manufacturing and mining output on a monthly basis since April 2006 I have just knocked out. (The raw data can be accessed from here).

The trend should be reasonably clear, and certainly the recent wave seems to have peaked back in December last year. Of course, as Claus was pointing out yesterday not everything is gloom at the moment. But the situation is complex, and for the time being we simply need to keep monitoring the data. It is however hard to envisage a rapid interest tightening process in this environment (especially when you look at this recent US durable goods release).

Japan’s industrial production unexpectedly fell in May from a month earlier, casting doubt on an anticipated rebound in output and raising the hurdle for the Bank of Japan to raise rates in the coming months. Industrial output fell 0.4 per cent in May from April, government data showed on Thursday, much weaker than a median market forecast for a 0.8 per cent rise and marking the third straight month of decline.

The weaker-than-expected reading hurt the yen, which slipped to near 123.35 to the dollar from 123.20.

Manufacturers’ output – the core component of production – is expected to rise 1.9 per cent in June and rise 1.7 per cent in July, the data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.

Still, the ministry downgraded its view on output, saying it is flattening. That compared with the previous month’s assessment that output was in a moderately rising trend.

Industrial production fell in January-March for the first time in six quarters, but many economists thought the drop was a reaction to a sharp rise in October-December and that output would rebound in April-June.

The May output data may call such thinking into question and heighten worries over Japan’s corporate-sector strength.