The latest batch of Japanese economic data showed signs of an ongoing recovery.
Here’s a quick look at the data we got out of Japan.
- The Markit/JMMA manufacturing PMI for Japan climbed to 55.2 in December, from 55.1 the previous month. Business conditions at Japanese manufacturers climbed at the fastest pace since July 2006. The employment sub-index rose at the fastest pace in 6.5 years, but the actual increase remained low in comparison to the sharp growth seen in output and new orders in recent months,” said Claudia Tillbrooke, economist at Markit.
- Japanese industrial production climbed 0.1% month-over-month, and was up 5% on the year. This missed expectations for a 0.4% and 5.4% rise respectively. Yet, industrial production was up for the third straight month.
- The unemployment rate held steady at 4% in November, but was lower than expectations for a modest decline to 3.9%. But household spending was very weak.
- Consumer prices were up 1.2% year-over-year in November, rising at the fastest pace in five-years. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, was up 0.6% on the month, the fastest pace in 15 years. This data showed that Japan’s war against deflation got a bit of a boost.
- Japanese retail sales were up 1.9% on the month and 4% on the year. This beat expectations for a 1% and 4% rise respectively.
While most Bank of Japan policymakers expect the recovery to continue in 2014, voiced concerns. “This may be indicative of a downward shift in growth, instead of merely a temporary slowdown,” a Bank of Japan policymaker pointed out in the BoJ’s November meeting, the minutes of which were released on Thursday.
There is also concern that GDP growth will slow in Q2 2014 when the national sales tax is set to increase.
Meanwhile, the Nikkei hit a six-year high but is down 0.5% since.
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