景気の低空飛行

August 15, 2016

 4~6月期の国内総生産(GDP)は2四半期連続のプラス成長ではあるが、前期比0.048%増と横ばい圏にとどまった。海外経済の減速と円高の進行を受け、設備投資や輸出が落ち込んだ。個人消費はプラスを維持したものの、勢いはなく、国内景気は低空飛行が続く。しっかりした回復基調に戻すには、企業や家計の心理改善が不可欠だ。

 

 設備投資は、民間調査機関の事前予測ではプラスが多かった。しかし新興国を中心に不透明感が増していることや、円高の進行が企業の投資判断を鈍らせた。生産性向上につながる設備投資が活発に行われているとはいえず、成長に向けた歩みは足踏みしている。

 

 先行きを不安視するのは家計も同じだ。個人消費は、前期比0.2%増と2四半期連続のプラスとなったが、実質個人消費の年率換算値は4~6月期は307兆円で、14年4~6月期の306兆円からほぼ変わっていない。

 賃上げの効果もあり、4~6月期の実質の雇用者報酬は前期比0.3%増だった。しかし家計は節約を進めながら、増えた賃金を貯蓄に回す傾向が鮮明だ。

 

 政府は8月に事業規模28兆円超の経済対策を決め、日銀も7月に追加の金融緩和を決めた。政策総動員で景気を下支えする。英国が欧州連合(EU)からの離脱を決めるなど、海外経済には依然として不透明感が強い。企業や家計に広がる不安心理をどれだけ払拭できるかが、持続的な成長に向けた一歩となる。期待はあるが、企業と消費者が動かなければ・・・。

 

【以下はFTからの引用】

 

Weak Japan growth raises pressure on BoJ to boost demand

 

Sharp slowdown in second quarter suggests stimulus has been insufficient

 

6 HOURS AGO by: Kana Inagaki in Tokyo and Peter Wells in Hong Kong

 

Japan’s economy grew sharply less than expected in the second quarter, heaping more pressure on policymakers to encourage companies and households to increase spending.

 

Gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of 0.2 per cent in the three months to June, according to preliminary data released on Monday, missing economists’ forecasts for 0.7 per cent growth and marking a sharp slowdown compared with a revised growth rate of 2.0 per cent in the first quarter.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy posted no growth during the three-month period — below expectations for a 0.2 per cent rise.

 

The weak data suggest a combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus under the prime minister’s Abenomics programme since the end of 2012 has not been sufficient to boost domestic demand.

Corporate profits have fallen sharply on the back of the export-denting rise in the yen, which accelerated following Britain’s June 24 vote to leave the EU. Paltry wage growth has failed to encourage households to loosen their purse strings.

“There is little expectation for consumption, capital spending and exports to grow going forward so it looks like the economy will remain at a standstill for the rest of the year,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

The start of the second quarter had been marred by concerns an earthquake that hit the southern island of Kyushu in April would disrupt supply chains and dent overall growth for the quarter. Giving economy watchers some hope, industrial production numbers remained robust in the wake of it.

This month Shinzo Abe unveiled a stimulus package of ¥28.1tn ($277bn), reverting to a loose fiscal policy. But it remains unclear how far it will boost the economy. Actual new government spending is only ¥6.2tn, of which just ¥4.6tn — 0.9 per cent of gross domestic product — will fall in the current fiscal year.

Pressure is likely to increase on the Bank of Japan to take further action at its next meeting in September. Investor expectations are also rising after Haruhiko Kuroda, BoJ governor, recently ordered a “comprehensive assessment” of the economy and the effectiveness of the central bank’s policy.

“In addition to the economic package, we will need to jointly carry out structural reforms,” Taro Aso, the finance minister, said after the data release, pointing to weak private consumption and exports.

Private consumption including household spending, which accounts for roughly 60 per cent of GDP, rose only 0.2 per cent compared with 0.7 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

Capital spending by businesses also declined for the second consecutive quarter, marking a 0.4 per cent drop. During the three-month period companies reported on average a 24 per cent decline in net profits as the yen rose 9 per cent against the US dollar and 12 per cent against the euro, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.

A slowdown in China and the stronger yen have also weakened Japan’s export engine, with June marking the ninth straight month of declines.

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