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?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On We Go?

Well, I know that Edward is already preparing something on today's reading on the Japanese surplus which seems to be muddling along just fine even in the midst of ever more uncertain global economic conditions. The question is of course whether this will continue?

Meanwhile, Bloomberg also looks forward this morning to a slew of data due at the end of the week. And the predictions?

On inflation the consensus remains sure that Japan remains in deflation and so do I especially since if we look at the core-of-core index.

Core consumer prices, which exclude fresh food, dropped 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the same pace as the preceding four months, according to the median estimate of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

On industrial production however the analysts are rather bullish ...

Separate reports also on Sept. 28 are likely to provide better news on the world's second-largest economy. Industrial production grew 3 percent in August from July, when output dropped 0.4 percent because of an earthquake, according to the median estimate of 46 economists. That would be the biggest gain in almost four years.

Perhaps we will see some seasonal swings on the back of the earthquake in the months to come? Yet, if indeed IP were to grow at 3% it would go some way to falsify my hypothesis that industrial production could be heading for a sustained downward trend in the remainder of 2007. In this light also the recent readings on the trade surplus provides good reading since this is sure to keep those factories ticking. I am awaiting this one with some excitement then.

Finally we have the predictions on unemployment and consumer spending;

The jobless rate probably held at a nine-year low of 3.6 percent and household spending climbed 1.2 percent, the fastest pace since February, analysts predict.

On consumer spending a rise of this magnitude would indeed constitute something of a rebound relative to recent month's meager performance. Once again, there might be some seasonal rebound going on here which of course needs to be smoothed out but I won't be looking for a positive number of the kind we are seeing here. In any case, please do remember my general prediction here in the sense that whatever we attribute to m-o-m readings we are not likely to see Japanese domestic demand push the 1% threshold in 2007.

So, let us wait and see; it is difficult to see just how much importance which can be attributed to this week's readings in themselves since there are bound to be earthquake rebounds etc entrenched in the data but still interesting nonetheless. One thing seems certain which is that if we get an overall positive reading the de-couplers will come back out, the Yen will shoot up, and the BOJ will consequently be pitched to raise before year's end. Luckily, we don't have to believe everything which comes out on the war drums, especially not in these market conditions.