Abenomics (a portmanteau of Abe and economics) refers to the economic policies advocated by Shinzō Abe, the current Prime Minister of Japan. Expectations for Abenomics have apparently shifted the economy into a positive cycle, as seen through increased personal spending, the gradual expansion of corporate production and an improvement in unemployment.
Japanese consumer confidence improved in March to the highest level in almost six years, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Wednesday, indicating that aggressive government and central bank policies are having their desired effect. The survey's sentiment index for general households, which includes views on incomes and jobs, was 44.8 in March, which was the highest since May 2007. That was also up from a revised 44.2 in February.
Two of Japan's biggest steelmakers will formally merge on Monday, creating the world's second largest firm in the sector as they look to outpace their Chinese and South Korean rivals. Nippon Steel, the nation's number one steel company and third-ranked rival Sumitomo Metal Industries will combine to form a giant second only to India's ArcelorMittal.
Advanced economies across the world grew by 0.6 per cent in the third quarter on a particularly strong showing of 1.5 per cent in Japan, the OECD says. This is broadly in line with recent data from other leading economic bodies, pointing to weak overall growth except in some still robust emerging economies.
The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold and gave a brighter assessment of the economy on Tuesday, encouraged by a rebound in factory output and increasing signs that the recovery from the devastating March earthquake is broadening. But the central bank warned that emerging nations faced a tough balancing act between curbing inflation and sustaining economic growth.
Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Softbank, Inc. - Japan's exclusive carrier of Apple products - has taken the company in an unexpected direction this week. Softbank invested $62.5 million into Gilt Groupe, Inc., the online luxury retailer whose flash sale business model has brought it plenty of visibility and venture capital interest (although no profits yet). Softbank's investment earned it a 50% stake in Gilt Groupe Japan, the retailer's only international subsidiary.
Japan's economy suffered a big blow in the triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, but the country should have no problem financing reconstruction, the central bank chief said. Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa conceded problems in the economic supply chain, power generation, tourism and other important sectors. But he said the financial system could cope.
As Japan reels in the aftermath of the most powerful earthquake in its history and worries grow about a nuclear reactor meltdown, some economists wonder whether the disaster will push the country closer to a sovereign debt crisis, too. There's a tug of war happening right now between investors who are buying Japanese government bonds (JGBs) as a safer alternative to the sinking stock market, and investors who are buying credit default swaps on JGBs because they believe the country is will soon default on its debt.
Many foreign automakers are trying to grab a larger share of the Japanese market by taking advantage of the strong yen to cut the prices of their cars, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of yen. These carmakers have chalked up brisk sales in recent months--the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Monday 131,799 registered imported cars were sold between January and August, an impressive 26.2 percent rise from the same period in 2009.
Japan "is ripe" for more mergers and acquisitions as companies have ample cash and the level of takeover activity is lower than it should be, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Japanese companies should consolidate in industries where there is excessive competition, and be more aggressive in making acquisitions in Asia, where the long-term growth potential is high, Kathy Matsui, chief strategist for Goldman in Japan, said Wednesday.