While 2014 was by no means a banner year for Japan’s economy—what with contractions in its latter quarters after a consumption tax increase in April—experts say the near future will be far more prosperous.
A recent Barron’s article noted that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may have compensated for what is perceived to be a disastrous tax hike with ensuing “ultra-loose monetary policies,” including an October decision to dole out ¥80 trillion annually “into the financial system mainly through the purchase of government bonds,” and a year end stimulus package of ¥3.5 trillion ($29 billion).
Barron praised these policies as the catalyst for a host of recent economic good news—from the yen reaching near decade record lows, to a boost in key stocks such as the 35 percent gain at Sony, 20 percent increase at Nissan and the 18 percent jump at Toyota.
Meanwhile Market Pulse ran a story saying these gains have bolstered confidence for Japan’s CEOs, citing a Kyodo News poll that indicated that 87 percent of the nation’s 111 key firms are optimistic about the coming year, because they “expect Japan’s economy to expand in 2015.”
Thirty seven of those companies credited the weakening yen as the source of this upswing. But others weren’t quick so quick to laud Prime Minister Abe’s policies or the ensuing effects— the poll said forty of those major firms “cited U.S. economic improvement” as the defining factor. Ninety of the companies predicted moderate growth in 2015, thirteen believe there will be a leveling off, and only seven foresee strong growth. But regardless of discrepancies in the source of the good news, or how substantial it will be, at least one consensus was reached, and it bodes well for Japan: “None [of the firms] forecast a contraction.”
Image: “Yokohama by Night” hihaa/Flickr (CC)