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Good Economic News in Japan

July 13, 2009

Background: With America still recovering from the worst job numbers in recent memory, Economists are still pondering the question is the economic recession bottoming out, or continuing to get worse? Although there are some signs from America the economy’s taking off like housing sales up and mortgage rates now climbing, overall the picture is still unclear.

Japan’s economic news today offered hopes that perhaps the world’s second largest economy is showing signs of economic recovery. Despite the comparatively strong yen (it’s been hovering close to 90 yen to the dollar) which hurts Japanese exports, the Monthly Economic Report published by the Japanese authorities today had positive comments on the economy. Each newspaper told a different story on the economic climate.

Yomiuri “The Monthly Economic Outlook Revised Up 3rd Month in a Row” The Monthly Economic Report’s analysis of the economy was revised up compared to last month, according to the Yomiuri. In June the report stated “A part of the economy looks like it might recover,” where as now “At this time the economy looks like it might recover.”

The report stated that along with an increase in corporate production and exports, personal consumption is also showing signs of recovery. The Yomiuri points to the government’s stimulus package that has encouraged spending on personal products such as televisions and cars that has helped revise the economic outlook upward.

NikkeiThe Monthly Economic Outlook Revised Upward 3rd Month in a Row, Consumption Takes Off” The Nikkei actually tells the full quote from the Economics Minister, stating “Although we’re in a tough economic climate, at this time the economy looks like it might recover.” The last time the economic outlook had been revised upward three times was 7 years ago, after the IT bubble in 2002.

However the Nikkei also pointed out that the economics minister used words of caution. “Although we have this analysis, there is still risk involved in the economy. The movements of the stock market and the exchange rate have been neurotic.”

Asahi “The stock market dips for the 9th time in a row” After searching the Asahi’s site I was surprised to not find anything about the Monthly Economic Report. It was instead filled with political articles about how the vote of no confidence was going to happen earlier, and that Google was now going to publish Japanese political commentary on their site “You Tube.” It seems as if the Asahi is publishing articles showing “political change”, and the possibility of the DPJ beating Prime Minister Aso and the LDP in the next election.

Maybe the reason the Monthly Economic Report wasn’t included was that it was positive, and the Asahi was looking to publish negative economic news to support their theme of “political change.”

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