Forex News: USD/JPY: Japanese GDP logs slower expansion rate, another Current Account gap

on Mar 10, 2014
Updated: May 24, 2024

Japan’s Cabinet Office released at 23:50 UTC yesterday the second preliminary Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the last quarter of 2013, showing growth at a slower pace than in the first preliminary estimate.

GDP rose an annualized 0.7 percent in the quarter – below the one percent expansion estimated previously. The quarter-on-quarter measure was up 0.2 percent in Q4, down from the 0.3 percent increase in the first calculation.

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“Capital spending remains weak and exports are not coming back to strengthen the recovery, and without support in these areas, Japan’s economy is going to contract significantly in the second quarter,” writes Itochu Corporation chief economist Yoshimasa Maruyama.

He believes that the sales tax hike scheduled for April could produce a worse effect on GDP growth than expected by the Bank of Japan and the government.

Capital expenditure climbed 0.8 percent from the third quarter, revised down from a preliminary 1.3 percent rise. The annualized rate was revised down to three percent from the prior 5.3.

Consumer spending also logged a slowing rate of growth, rising by 0.4 percent in the quarter versus 0.5 percent in the initial estimate. The annualized rate was a 1.6 percent increase in Q4, down from the initial two percent.

Also at 23:50 UTC yesterday the Ministry of Finance reported that Japan’s Current Account posted a fourth consecutive deficit in January, at ¥1.589 trillion, the largest since 1985.

The January seasonally adjusted Current Account gap was ¥0.588 trillion.

The government had been expecting stronger growth to buttress next month’s sales tax increase from the current five percent to eight percent.

The Bank of Japan reported at 23:50 UTC yesterday that Bank Lending rose 2.2 percent in February, after expanding 2.3 percent in January.

The Cabinet Office also released its Economy Watchers Survey, with the index for current economic sentiment falling to 53 from the prior 54.7 – dropping for a second straight month and reaching a four-month low. The outlook index declined to 40 from 49 points and fell for a third consecutive time. The value 50 separates optimism from pessimism.

In commenting on the print, the Cabinet Office said that the latest reading had been affected by severe snow storms.
Its overall assessment of the survey was that “the economy is recovering moderately but the outlook will be affected by an expected slump in consumer spending after the consumption tax is raised”.

The USD/JPY has so far today been trading between 103.28 and 102.92 and is currently at 102.96.

In France today, US Federal Reserve FOMC member Charles Plosser is due to participate in a panel discussion titled “Monetary Policy and Banks and the Rise of Global Protectionism” in Paris at 11:15 UTC.

Resistances today: 103.20, 103.65 and 104.00.

Supports: 102.90, 102.65 and 102.35.

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