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2008年7月26日 (土)


(Jul. 26, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Latest CPI figure leaves govt, BOJ in policy bind

消費者物価 景気もインフレも要警戒だ(7月26日付・読売社説)

Surging oil and food prices worldwide have pushed the nation's consumer price index to a worryingly high level.


Stagflation--in which an economy experiences inflation and stagnation at the same time--appears to be becoming a reality. The government and the Bank of Japan should therefore take even greater care over how they manage policy.


For June, the core CPI, which excludes perishable foods, rose for the ninth consecutive month on a year-on-year basis, jumping 1.9 percent for the period. Excluding periods when prices rose following a consumption tax hike, the latest figure is the highest in 15-1/2 years. Meanwhile, the index that includes perishable foods showed a 2 percent increase for the first time in almost 16 years.


perishable=腐りやすい perishable foods=生鮮食料品

With sharp increases in the prices of imported raw materials such as crude oil, wheat and soybeans, prices of kerosene, gasoline and other oil products, as well as spaghetti, instant noodles, cooking oil and other food products have soared by 20 percent to 40 percent on the previous year.


The latest CPI reading was near the upper limit of the zero to 2 percent range considered desirable by the central bank, though the July figure, which is expected to show further increases, could exceed this level.


Consumption has been hit as rising prices for daily necessities deal a further blow to household budgets that are suffering from sluggish wages.




Heading toward recession?


Meanwhile, the deteriorating business performance of companies as a result of higher costs and the slowing U.S. economy also is a matter of serious concern. The nation's economy, which had seen growth plateau, is now on the brink of recession.


deteriorating=悪化した plateau=高原、台地/安定期/景気の停滞状態 on the brink of recession=景気後退への瀬戸際

Even if the inflation rate slightly exceeds the central bank's target, it would not be appropriate for the bank to raise interest rates in response.


For the time being, there is no choice but to maintain a neutral stance that does not lean toward rate hikes or cuts.


lean=寄りかかる、偏る、傾く rate hikes or cuts=利上げ又は利下げ


Foreign complications


The European Central Bank earlier this month decided to raise interest rates as eurozone inflation hit 4 percent. Even in the United States, where policymakers have now stopped cutting interest rates, there is speculation the Federal Reserve Board will start to hike rates.


With demand sluggish, Japan has yet to overcome deflationary pressures. But if both the United States and European Central Bank set off on a course of rate hikes, the Bank of Japan will find it even more difficult to conduct monetary policy.


The challenges of rising oil prices and confusion in financial and capital markets cannot be tackled by a single nation.


Governments should first move to stem flows of speculative money, which are pushing up oil and grain prices irrespective of demand.



The United States, home to a number of speculative funds, is reluctant to introduce regulations to stop them. But the adverse effects of speculative money flows have seriously shaken the real global economy.


the real global economy=世界の実体経済

The Japanese government, in cooperation with European authorities, must put more pressure on the United States to ensure that action is taken to strengthen supervision over, and regulations aimed at, speculative market players.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 26, 2008)

20087260145  読売新聞)


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