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Economy in Brief

More Depressing Data From Japan
by Louise Curley   August 31, 2010

While the monetary authorities and the politicians scramble to develop policies to stimulate Japan's faltering economy, more and more actual data are being released confirming the need for such activity. The July Industrial Production index released today barely advanced to 95.3 (2005=200) from 95.0 in June. As can be seen in the first chart showing the headline series of industrial production for mining and manufacturing, there has been little variation in the index since the beginning of the year.

Data for housing starts were also released today, showing that starts increased to 64.3 million in July from 63.4 million, but a glance at the second chart, depicting housing starts over the past several years, shows that there already has been a double dip in starts and we are now seeing only a feeble rise.

The third piece of news, released today, relates to private and public construction orders received by 50 large construction firms, as shown in the third chart. Private orders have been fluctuating around depressed levels over the past two or so years and public orders appear to have been worsening steadily.

 Japan July 10 Jun 10  May 10 April 10 Mar 10 Feb 10 Jan 10
Industrial Production (2005=100) 95.3 95.0 96.1 96.0 94.8 93.7 94.3
Housing Starts (Thousands of units) 66.3 62.5 61.4 66.1 71.2 66.2 71.9
Orders (Billions of Yen)
Public 131.0 151.1 155.1 163.9 201.6 174.1 205.4
Private 569.7 539.6 502.2 376.5 746.2 556.1 580.1
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