This is a crisis like no other. It is worse than the Global Financial Crisis, and Asia is not immune. While there is huge uncertainty about 2020 growth prospects, and even more so about the 2021 outlook, the impact of the coronavirus on the region will—across the board—be severe and unprecedented. […]
Version in 日本語 (Japanese)
Japan’s minimum wage is 798 JPY ($6.52) per hour, lower than many other advanced countries, including the United States, and among the lowest relative to the average wage (see chart). For a country that needs consumers to boost spending to pull the economy out of 15 years of deflation and reinvigorate growth, a hike in wages across the board can go a long way. […]
(version in 日本語)
Japanese-brand cars have become everyday, household items in the United States, and it’s hard to drive in the country without seeing one on the roads. These cars may be manufactured by Japanese firms, but about 70 percent of these vehicles are actually produced in North America. Globally, in 2014, about two-thirds of Japanese cars were produced on assembly lines outside of that country. Despite the increase in overseas demand for Japanese vehicles, this hasn’t been mirrored by an expansion in investment, and the building of factories in Japan to meet that demand.
Against this background, our IMF Working Paper looks at possible reasons for this sluggish recovery of corporate investment in Japan, focusing on the role of Japanese firms overseas.
Since mid-2014, diversity and divergence—applying to countries’ economic situations, policies and performance—have dominated global economic discussions. Differing economic performance in major advanced countries has led to divergent monetary policies.
Both the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have started significant expansions of their balance sheets, while the U.S. Federal Reserve has ended its bond-buying program and is expected to start raising rates. This has had many effects, in particular, contributing to a sharp depreciation of the Yen and the Euro against the U.S. dollar (see chart 1).
By José Viñals
The three main messages from this Global Financial Stability Report are:
- Risks to the global financial system have risen since October and have rotated to parts of the financial system where they are harder to assess and harder to address.
- Advanced economies need to enhance the traction of monetary policies to achieve their goals, while managing undesirable financial side effects of low interest rates.
- To withstand the global crosscurrents of lower oil prices, rising U.S. policy rates, and a stronger dollar, emerging markets must increase the resilience of their financial systems by addressing domestic vulnerabilities.
Let me now discuss these findings in detail.
(Versions in 日本語)
Abenomics can succeed, despite recent setbacks to growth and inflation, in revitalizing Japan by making steadfast progress on all three of its arrows equally and simultaneously, as we show in our new book. This is also essential to avoid an undue weakening of the yen and ensure positive spillovers to Japan’s neighbors, its region, and the global economy.
The Legacy: Structural Changes During the Lost Decades
Most Japan followers will be familiar with the following striking statistic: in 2013, Japan’s level of nominal GDP was about 6 percent below its mid 1990s level. During this period, three important structural changes have been a brake on growth and efforts to get out of deflation: […]
Building a Camaraderie of Central Bankers: How Monetary Policymakers in the Caucasus and Central Asia Can Learn From Each Other
By Min Zhu
The world’s central bankers are certainly in the news these days. Not a week goes by without the Fed, the European Central Bank or the Bank of Japan taking big and often unprecedented actions to fight deflation, preserve financial stability, or address mediocre growth. We tend to forget, however, that these are not the only central banks that are struggling to adapt their policies to changing circumstances in our connected world.
Take the Caucasus and Central Asia — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Central banking in these former Soviet republics rarely makes international headlines. But figuring out how best to design and run monetary policy is no less a challenge than in the United States or the euro zone.
(Versions in 日本語)
Japan’s GDP declined by almost 7 percent in the second quarter, more than many had forecast including us here at the IMF. Many cite the increase in the sales tax this April for this decline. But that is not the full story.
Yes, it is true that consumer responses to major tax increases are difficult to predict, and large spending swings are not unusual. We see this pattern in many countries (see chart) including Germany’s 2007 VAT increase, which had a short-lived impact.
As inflation has sunk in the euro area, talk of quantitative easing (QE)—and misgivings about it—have soared. Some think QE is not needed; others that it would not work; and yet others that it only creates asset bubbles and may even be “illegal.” In its latest report on the euro area, the IMF assesses recent policy action positively but adds that “… if inflation remains too low, the ECB should consider a substantial balance sheet expansion, including through asset purchases.” Given all the reservations, would the juice be worth the squeeze?