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Economy in Brief

Some Further Rebounding from Japan's Economy Watchers Index
by Robert Brusca March 9 2009

Japan’s economy watchers index is making further tentative signs of rebounding from its very deep cyclical lows in this cycle. The future index has made a more substantial bounced higher, but the current index is rising too. The future index is still in the bottom 22% of its five year range. The headline index is only in the 8.5% percentile of its range. But any improvement begins from where you are. In December each of these measures was at a five year low. So this is what the early signs of progress look like. It is too soon to take the positive moves in these signs to the bank. But I think we have been very oversold in markets and that commentators have been pessimistic beyond what prudence would call for. Japan’s early signs join some from the US that say conditions are not now getting worse. This may well be among the first tentative steps on the road to eventual recovery.

Key Japanese surveys
  Raw readings of each survey Percent of 5Yr range*
Diffusion Feb-09 Jan-09 Dec-08 Nov-08 Feb-09 Jan-09 Dec-08
Economy Watchers 19.4 17.1 15.9 21.0 8.5% 2.9% 0.0%
Employment 11.9 10.1 8.5 15.7 5.9% 2.8% 0.0%
Future 26.5 22.1 17.6 24.7 22.8% 11.5% 0.0%
NTC MFG 31.6 29.6 30.8 36.7 7.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Econ Trends (Teikoku'/50 neutral/weighted diffusion)
MFG 17.0 17.7 19.3 24.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Retail 20.5 21.6 21.3 24.4 0.0% 1.5% 0.0%
Wholesale 18.4 19.0 20.4 24.7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Services 22.6 23.3 24.1 28.4 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Construction 18.2 18.6 19.1 21.4 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
100 is high; Zero is low
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