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Monthly Economic ReportExecutive Summary( Aug 2017 )

(Provisional translation)

(Assessment of the current state of the Japanese economy)

The Japanese economy is on a moderate recovery.

  • Private consumption is picking up moderately.
  • Business investment is picking up.
  • Exports is picking up.
  • Industrial production is picking up.
  • Corporate profits is improving. Firms' judgment on current business conditions is improving.
  • The employment situation is improving.
  • Consumer prices are flat.

  Concerning short-term prospects, the economy is expected to recover, supported by the effects of the policies, while employment and income situation is improving. However, attention should be given to the uncertainty in overseas economies and the effects of fluctuations in the financial and capital markets.

(Policy stance)

  The Government will make its utmost efforts to ensure the economy overcomes deflation and achieve economic revitalization and fiscal consolidation simultaneously, in addition to make effort toward the reconstruction and revitalization from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the restoration and reconstruction from the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. To this end, the Government steadily implements the "Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2017", the "Growth Strategy 2017", the "Regulatory Reform Work Plan", and the "Basic Policies for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan 2017", and the "Japan's Plan for the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens". Moreover, the Government will speedily establish the "Council for Designing 100-Year Life Society" in order to come up with ideas for the 100-year life society and promote human resources development. About work style reform, based on the "The action Plan for the Realization of Work Style Reform" decided in March, the Government will promptly try to rivise the Act regarding establishing a Sophisticated Professional System and revising the Discretionary Working System for Management-related Work, in addition to submit bills to the Diet at an early date. And the government implements "Economic Measures for Realizing Investment for the Future" and the FY2016 supplementary budget swiftly and steadily in order to overcome deflation completely and pave the way for steady economic growth. The Government also implements the FY2017 budget swiftly and steadily.
  The Government continuously pursues to expand the economic virtuous cycles which cover local areas, SMEs and small-scale businesses, through directing growing corporate profits towards investment, wage increase and further improvement in the employment situation by these measures.
  The Government expects the Bank of Japan to achieve the price stability target of two percent in light of economic activity and prices.

Detailed explanations

1. Demand trends such as consumption and investment

  Real GDP (gross domestic product) in the April-June quarter of 2017 increased by 1.0% on a quarterly basis (at an annual rate of 4.0%), posting positive growth for the sixth consecutive quarter. Nominal GDP increased by 1.1% on a quarterly basis, posting positive growth for the first time in two quarters.

Private consumption is picking up moderately.

  Private consumption is in picking up moderately. Real wage income of employees is increasing moderately. Consumer confidence is picking up.

  The Synthetic Consumption Index, which synthesizes demand?side statistics (Family Income and Expenditure Survey, etc.) and supply-side statistics (Indices of Industrial Producer's Shipment's, etc.), decreased by 0.0% in June from the previous month.

  Concerning short-term prospects, consumption is expected to pick up, supported by the improvement in the employment and income situations.

Business investment is picking up.

  Business investment is picking up. The Quarterly Financial Statements Statistics of Corporations by Industry (January-March survey) show that business investment increased in the January-March quarter of 2017 by 1.3% from the previous quarter after increasing in the October-December quarter of 2016 by 3.5%. By industry, business investment decreased for manufacturers by 1.8% from the previous quarter, and increased for non-manufacturers by 3.0%. Capital Goods Shipments and Imports, supply-side statistics, are picking up.

  As for short-term prospects, business investment is expected to increase, mainly reflecting the improvement of corporate profits and actions in growth sectors.

Housing construction is flat.

  Housing construction is flat. Construction of owned houses shows a steady undertone. Construction of houses for rent is flat. Construction of houses for sale is almost flat. In addition, the total number of sales of condominiums in the Tokyo metropolitan area is in a weak tone.

  As for short-term prospects, housing construction is expected to remain flat for the time being.

Public investment shows steady performance.

  Public investment shows steady performance. The amount of public construction completed in June decreased by 1.3% from the previous month, the amount of contracted public works in July decreased by 13.4% from the previous month, and the amount of public works orders received in June increased by 1.3% from the previous year.

  As for short-term prospects, public investment is expected to show steady performance due to the execution of related budgets.

Exports are picking up. Imports show movements of picking up. The surplus in the balance of goods and services is almost flat.

  Exports are picking up. By region, exports to Asia are picking up. Exports to the U.S. and EU show movements of picking up. Exports to other regions are almost flat. As for short-term prospects, exports are expected to continue to pick up, mainly reflecting the moderate recovery of overseas economies.

  Imports show movements of picking up. By region, imports from Asia show movements of picking up. Imports from the U.S. and EU are almost flat. As for short-term prospects, imports are expected to pick up.

  The surplus in the balance of goods and services is almost flat.

  The surplus in the balance of trade in June decreased, as export values decreased while import values increased. The deficit in the balance of services decreased.


2. Corporate activities and employment

Industrial production is picking up.

  Industrial production is picking up. The Indices of Industrial Production increased by 2.2% from the previous month in June. The Indices of Industrial Inventories decreased by 2.0% from the previous month in June. The Survey of Production Forecast in Manufacturing expects an increase of 0.8% in July, and an increase of 3.6% in August.

  By industry, transport equipment and general-purpose, production and business oriented machinery are picking up. Electronic parts and devices are increasing.

  As for short-term prospects, production is expected to continue to pick up mainly reflecting the moderate recovery of overseas economies.

Corporate profits are improving. Firms' judgment on current business conditions is improving. The number of corporate bankruptcies is almost flat.

  Corporate profits are improving. During the April-June quarter of 2017, the current profits of the listed companies increased from the previous year both for manufacturers and non-manufacturers. According to the BOJ Tankan (June survey), in fiscal year 2017, sales are expected to increase by 3.0% in the first half of the year, and are expected to increase by 1.1% in the second half from the previous year. Current profits are expected to decrease by 0.8% in the first half, and decrease by 7.3% in the second half from the previous year.

  Firms' judgment on current business conditions is improving. The Tankan (June survey) revealed that firms' judgment on current business conditions has improved for all enterprises in all industries. Firms' judgment on future business conditions, which indicates the business condition as of September, becomes more cautious than that on current business conditions. According to the corporate activity-related DI of the Economy Watchers Survey (July survey), the assessment of current and prospective business conditions declined.

  The number of corporate bankruptcies is almost flat.

The employment situation is improving.

  The employment situation is improving. The total unemployment rate was 2.8% in June, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the previous month. The labor force and the number of unemployed persons decreased while the number of employed persons increased.

  The number of employees has been increasing recently. The number of new job offers has been increasing recently. The effective ratio of job offers to applicants is increasing. Overtime hours worked in the manufacturing industry are almost flat.

  As for the movement of wages, contractual cash earnings are picking up. The total amount of cash earnings is increasing moderately.

  As for short-term prospects, the employment situation is expected to improve.


3. Prices and the financial market

Producer prices are rising at a slower tempo recently. Consumer prices are flat.

  Producer prices are rising at a slower tempo recently.

  Consumer prices, in terms of general, excluding fresh food and energy, are flat.

  According to the Monthly Consumer Confidence Survey (multi-person households), the ratio of households which forecast a rise in prices, was 75.8% in July, a decrease of 3.4% points from the previous month.

  As for short-term prospects, consumer prices (general, excluding fresh food and energy) are expected to rise moderately, but they are expected to remain flat for the time being.

As for stock prices, the Nikkei Stock Average declined from the 20,100-yen level to the 19,300-yen level. The yen against the U.S. dollar (inter-bank spot rate) moved in the direction of appreciation from the 111-yen level to the 109-yen level.

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