Recent Updates

  • *** Netherland's GDP Rebased to Chained 2015 Euros. We are Currently Working on Processing These Changes. **
  • Belgium: Business Survey (Jun)
  • Canada: CPI (May), Retail Trade (Apr)
  • Manufacturing Survey - Japan, Germany, France, Euro Area, US, (Flash - Jun); Composite & Services Survey - US (Flash - June)
  • Ireland: Producer & Wholesale Price Indexes (May)
  • Morocco: CPI (May)
  • France: GDP (Q1), Loans (Apr)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

Japanese Economic Outlook Still Cloudy--Much New Data Notwithstanding 
by Louise Curley March 1, 2005

Today's releases of data on production, sales, employment and survey results for Japan have failed to clear the cloudy outlook.

Industrial production for manufacturing increased 2% in January from December, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)'s survey forecast a decline of 0.5% for Februaryand one of 1.0% for March. Although the forecasts (found in the Industrial Production Section of Haver's Japan data base) tend to overestimate the magnitudes of the changes, they do a good job in predicting the direction of the change, as can be seen in the first chart.

Retail sales were up 5.71% in January over December and 1.66% above January of a year ago. The magnitude of the January increase may merely be a bounce back from the depressed sales at the end of 2004, due, in part to the negative effect of unusual weather conditions--earthquakes and the tsunami--on sales in the latter part of 2004. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.5% in January and employment increased 0.74%. The Household Survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication shows a sharp rise of 11.52% in disposable income of worker households in January, but again this appears to be bounce back from the sharp decline in December. A similar, but more muted trend is shown in Living Expenditures of these households.

The Shoko Chukin Small/Medium Firm Survey indicates that these firms were expecting some improvement in business conditions in February and March, but were forecasting a decline in sales, the first decline since December 2002.The mixed message of these data is shown in chart two.

  Jan 05
M/M %
Dec 04
M/M %
Nov 04
M/M %
Oct 04
M/M %
Y/Y %  2004    2003   2002   
                 
Industrial Production Mfg (2000=100) 2.10 -0.79 1.72 -1.29 1.09 100.1 95.1 92.0
Retail Sales  (2000=100) 5.71 -0.76 -0.46 0.33 2.23 91.7 92.5 94.1
Employment 0.74 0.27 -0.33 -0.24 0.65 6.3 mil 6.3 6.3
Unemployment Rate 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.6 -0.5 4.7 5.2 5.4
Household Survey                
  Disposable Income 11.52 -9.21 0.53 -1.45 0.73 94.6 93.3 95.8
  Living Expenditures 7.70 -2.40 0.42 0.21 2.55 97.1 95.6 97.0
Small/Medium Firm Survey Mar 05 Feb 05 Jan 05 Dec 04  2004    2003   2002     
  Business Conditions Per cent Better-Worse 50.2 47.6 47.3 48.4 49.6 46.4 43.5  
  Sales Y/Y % -3.4 2.8 2.1 2.8 n.a. n.a. n.a.  
Industrial Production Forecast -1.0 -0.5 2.8 -0.9 1.5% 1.6% 1.8%  
close
large image