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Friday, April 26, 2013 3:11 AM


Consumer Prices Dip Another .9% in Japan; Will It Take Until 2015 for Japan to Experience Price Inflation?


In spite of fact the Yen is down about 12% on the year, consumer prices in Japan are still falling and some are already clamoring for still more monetary stimulus.

Please consider Bank of Japan Sees Inflation Nearing Target in 2015.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food slid 0.5 percent in March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.4 percent decline. Overall prices dropped 0.9 percent. The BOJ this month said that it expects prices to keep declining for “the time being.”

Eisuke Sakakibara, an ex-Finance Ministry colleague, has predicted Kuroda will fail to achieve the 2 percent price goal, and former BOJ board member Atsushi Mizuno sees the central bank hitting a “wall of reality” as bond purchases escalate risks of a market bubble.

Policy makers may come under pressure to expand stimulus should prices continue to drop.

“It’s unrealistic -- they won’t be able to reach their target in two years, or even in five,” said Masaaki Kanno, chief Japan economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo and a former BOJ official. Extra easing may be needed as early as October, when the BOJ releases new price forecasts, he said.

Policy board members themselves are divided over the outlook for inflation, with some anticipating that consumer prices won’t even rise at half the rate they set as a target this month. While the highest of their projections for fiscal 2015 is for a 2.3 percent consumer-price gain excluding the tax increase, the lowest is 0.8 percent.
Belief Bubble?

This is really quite stunning. It seems no one believes the Bank of Japan can do anything to stop prices from falling. JPMorgan chief Japan economist thinks Japan will fail to hit price targets for another 5 years!

Wow. This is precisely the kind of sentiment one sees at the end of trends. Nearly everyone thinks the trend will last forever, and nothing can stop it.

Instead, I suggest Japan will eventually succeed in spades and will be extremely unhappy with the result once it happens.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

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