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Japan business mood sours on higher costs, BOJ sticks to recovery view

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Japan business mood sours on higher costs, BOJ sticks to recovery view © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda makes a speech at the University of Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By Daniel Leussink and Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese manufacturers turned less positive about their business conditions in January, a survey showed on Wednesday, even as central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda stressed the economy was on track for a recovery accompanied by rising inflation.

Along with the potential hit from a spike in COVID-19 cases led by the Omicron variant, companies complained of rising energy and raw material costs that were squeezing profits, the Reuters Tankan poll showed.

The survey highlights the dilemma Japan faces as a country that relies heavily on fuel and food imports, making its economy vulnerable to the type of cost-push inflation now under way.

While rising inflation is welcome progress for the Bank of Japan's effort to achieve its 2% price target, there is a risk the higher cost of living could cool consumption and discourage firms from raising prices - pushing Japan back into deflation.

In a speech to the BOJ's regional branch managers on Wednesday, Kuroda said consumer inflation was likely to gradually accelerate on rising energy costs and an expected increase in demand.

"Japan's economy is picking up as a trend, although it remains in a severe state due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic," Kuroda said.

"The BOJ will scrutinise the pandemic's impact and won't hesitate to take additional easing steps as needed," he said, reiterating the central bank's resolve to focus on supporting a fragile economic recovery with massive monetary stimulus.

Japan's economy shrank in the third quarter of last year as supply constraints and curbs on activity to contain the pandemic hit factory output and consumption.

Analysts expect growth to have rebounded in October-December and the current quarter as output and consumption pick up, though a recent spike in Omicron infections clouds the outlook.

Sources have told Reuters the BOJ is expected to slightly raise its inflation forecast for the fiscal year beginning in April on rising energy costs, though the new projection will still be below its 2% target.

Japan has not been immune to the impact of global commodity inflation, with wholesale prices in November rising a record 9.0% from a year earlier.

But soft wage growth and consumption have prevented many firms from passing on rising costs to households, keeping core consumer inflation at a more modest 0.5% in November.

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27-01-2022 18:15:58 (UTC+7)

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 EUR/JPY128.52↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF1.0376↑ Buy
 Gold1,796.60Neutral
 Silver22.780Neutral
 Copper4.4295↑ Buy
 Crude Oil WTI87.47↑ Buy
 Brent Oil88.84↑ Buy
 Natural Gas4.319↑ Sell
 US Coffee C231.78Buy
 Euro Stoxx 504,184.97↑ Buy
 S&P 5004,326.50↑ Sell
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 FTSE 1007,554.31↑ Buy
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 Small Cap 20001,932.23Neutral
 IBEX 358,706.00↑ Buy
 BASF68.450↑ Sell
 Bayer52.58↑ Sell
 Allianz228.70↑ Sell
 Adidas242.15↑ Sell
 Lufthansa7.045↑ Sell
 Siemens AG140.50↑ Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG11.920↑ Sell
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,195/ 6,235
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SJC HCM6,195/ 6,255
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