Can Japan stay on course?

As the Japanese market hits a new 20 year high, what impact will the upcoming snap election have? The Japanese economy is growing well this year, and corporate earnings are coming in with good gains. The yen has been weak for a long time, Japanese multinationals are competitive, and the Central Bank remains very accommodative. … Continue reading “Can Japan stay on course?”

Japan’s election uncertainty

Call a snap election.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, as embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May could tell us (in between coughing fits) — plenty.  And yet Shinzo Abe, Japan’s premier, is set to go down the same path. Will he regret his decision to summon the country to the polls in October? At … Continue reading “Japan’s election uncertainty”

Nobody puts sterling in the corner

The story for September remains mundanely similar as for much of the year. Global political noise is barely being acknowledged by capital markets; central banks attempt to signal the way higher for rates without spooking the market; the global economy continues to bump along. Despite an increasingly aggressive stance from North Korea, a destructive hurricane … Continue reading “Nobody puts sterling in the corner”

Has unconventional monetary policy had its day?

“People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it’s unconventional,” so said Warren Buffett in an interview for Time magazine in 2008.  Buffett wasn’t referring to monetary policy specifically, but there’s some truth in his adage if we apply it to the more controversial tools that central banks have used since … Continue reading “Has unconventional monetary policy had its day?”

Can Japan’s reforms change the game?

Two economies are associated in investors’ minds with the need for reform. In Japan, Mr Abe is well entrenched with a big majority behind his “three arrows” reforms. Designed to accelerate Japanese growth, the third arrow offered substantial changes to the way Japanese society functions and the way Japanese companies work. In India, many in … Continue reading “Can Japan’s reforms change the game?”

Japan: a leveraged play on global growth?

Japan’s nascent economic recovery is showing encouraging signs, with some strength in the labour market and a favourable corporate environment. However, domestic demand remains weak and it appears that cultural headwinds will have to be addressed before a virtuous circle of rising domestic demand and inflation can begin. Meanwhile, Japan’s asset markets are being distorted … Continue reading “Japan: a leveraged play on global growth?”

Japan traps to avoid in 2017

Discerning equity investors who focus on quality companies not temporary tailwinds can find pockets of growth in Japan the coming year. In the month since Donald Trump’s election upset, Japan’s Topix climbed 17% in US dollar terms. Almost half of this performance came from a resurgent dollar. Given the close historical correlation between Japan’s stock … Continue reading “Japan traps to avoid in 2017”

A weak yen boosts Japanese equity markets

Equity markets across Asia generally declined during October, dampened by uncertainties over the outcome of November’s US Presidential election and a drop in the price of oil. In comparison, Japanese equity markets rose relatively strongly during October, boosted by a weakening in the value of the yen. The Nikkei 225 Index rose by 6.1%, while … Continue reading “A weak yen boosts Japanese equity markets”

Should we worry about Japanese debts?

Investors like to worry. When you’ve got your money at risk it is natural to do so. It is commonplace to read about the very high levels of Japanese state debt, with some querying how much longer it can carry on. Japan has the highest level of state indebtedness of the main economies. Its gross … Continue reading “Should we worry about Japanese debts?”