Reuters reported that the nationwide core consumer price index in Japan went up by 3.6 percent compared to a year earlier. It also marked the highest surge since the February 1982 Middle East crisis stemming from the Iran-Iraq War, and surpassed the 3.5 percent rise expected by economists.
The index increase confirmed that inflation remained above the two percent goal of the BOJ for the seventh consecutive month. But analysts are skeptical that Japan’s central bank will follow the worldwide trend of raising interest rates, especially since it sees this year’s acceleration in inflation as a cost-push episode that will fade as import costs stop pushing.
“I haven’t changed my view that the rise will start to slow down soon,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute. “I expect inflation to peak by year-end and the rise in prices to start diminishing in the new year.”
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda promised last week to maintain monetary stimulus to achieve wage growth and sustainable and stable inflation. The central bank is keeping long-term interest rates around zero and short-term rates at minus 0.1 percent, he added.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last month unveiled a $260 billion stimulus package aimed at cushioning the economy from the impact of inflation and the weak yen.
“We want to protect people’s livelihoods, employment and businesses while strengthening our economy for the future,” Kishida told reporters, adding that the move should help push up the gross domestic product (GDP) by 4.6 percent.
The East Asian country’s inflation is lower compared to that of the United Kingdom and the United States.
Bezos advises inflation-burdened Americans to control purchases
Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos warned consumers to think twice if they are planning to make huge purchases this coming holiday season.
Bezos said in an interview that the U.S. economy seems to be heading toward an imminent economic collapse and that one of the best ways to prepare in the event of a prolonged downturn is by delaying big purchases.
“Take some risk off the table,” the e-commerce mogul said. “Keep some dry powder on hand. Just a little bit of risk reduction could make the difference for that small business if we do get into even more serious economic problems. You’ve got to play the probabilities a little bit.”
Among the items he advises not to purchase just yet are TVs, refrigerators and cars. Bezos also advises small businesses to slow down on capital expenditures and acquisitions.
He added that the economy “doesn’t look great right now” given how “things are slowing down” and companies are conducting” layoffs in many, many sectors of the economy.”
The billionaire said “the probabilities say if we’re not in a recession right now, we’re likely to be in one very soon.”
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