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, February 06, 2008

Japan Index of Leading Indicators December 2007

Japan's leading index, which is the government's broadest indicator of the economic outlook today signaled slowing economic growth for a fifth consecutive month. The leading index was at 40 percent in December, below the threshold of 50 that signals growth will slow in the next three to six months, the Cabinet Office said today.

Nonetheless the reading is up on November's 10, and if you look at the chart there has been a steady rebound since September's "horrible" zero. Since the index is claimed to reflect growth three months forward it does not seem to have been performing too badly last year, contracting somewhat in the February to April period before the Q2 GDP contraction, and then was well up in June and July, anticipating the growth recovery in Q3. So if September's reading is anything to go by, Q4 may well surprise on the downside. The rebound suggests that Japan GDP will continue to be weak in Q1 2008, but that the brake won't be being slammed on so hard as it was towards the end of 2007.

The Q4 GDP report is expected to show that net exports accounted for most of Japan's growth for the second consecutive quarter, with housing and deomestic consumption remaining weak. We will all know soon enough since the Cabinet Office will release the preliminary GDP report on Feb. 14 at 8:50 a.m. in Tokyo.