Thursday, April 28, 2016

Japan's In Serious Trouble

     Recent Japanese economic releases are extremely concerning.

Industrial production (top chart) increased a paltry .1% and contracted in 7 of the last 12 months.  One of Abenomics goals was to devalue the yen to make Japanese industry competitive.  This would then lead to increased production.  This obviously hasn't happened.

The BOJ hoped to spur inflation through a variety of measures.  Yet, the Y/Y CPI rate is currently fluctuating around 0%.  The latest reading was -.3% Y/Y.

The BOJ has continually suggested they are counting on a "virtuous cycle:" low unemployment leading to increased wages followed by increased consumer activity.   Yet the Y/Y percentage change in retails sales (bottom chart) shows consumer activity is slowing, not increasing.

This is no good news in today's releases.  In fact, there is a tremendous amount of very bad news, because the data implies Abenomics is either failing or has failed.