« 終盤国会 民自公で残る懸案に取り組め | トップページ | 五輪閉幕 奮闘した選手をねぎらいたい »

2012年8月15日 (水)

GDP減速 景気優先の政策対応を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 15, 2012)
Govt, BOJ must act quickly to shore up economy
GDP減速 景気優先の政策対応を急げ(8月14日付・読売社説)

The nation's economic growth, which had been buoyed by demand for reconstruction from last year's earthquake and tsunami disasters, has slowed down.

Concerning the economic outlook, the government said, "Mild growth is expected to continue." But no optimism is warranted.

The government and the Bank of Japan should strengthen economy-boosting policies and realize stable growth led by private demand.

The real gross domestic product for the April-June period increased 0.3 percent over the previous quarter, marking the fourth straight quarter of growth. But the pace slackened from the 1.3 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter. The nominal growth rate, which reflects economic conditions more vividly than the real economic growth rate, dropped into negative territory for the first time in two quarters.

The standstill in growth is attributed to the stagnation of consumer spending, which accounts for a major portion of domestic demand. New car sales were brisk thanks to government subsidies for purchases of fuel-efficient eco-friendly vehicles. But overall consumer spending did not fare well due to the bad weather and the drop in workers' income, among other factors.


Grim outlook ahead

The eco-car subsidies, which have been a lifeline for domestic consumption, are likely to be cut off in September as the budget set aside for that purpose runs out. This makes it impossible to dispel concern that the economy will slow down further in autumn.

The growth rate for public investment, which had been robust in disaster-stricken areas, shrank. The signs of decline emerging in domestic demand, which is said to be sustained by government spending for purposes such as reconstruction, are a cause for concern.

Prospects are also growing uncertain over foreign demand. Japan's exports slackened due to the slowdown of the world economy, particularly that of Europe, and domestic industrial production declined for the third straight month in June.

To prevent the economy from losing steam, the government should adopt policies that back up private-sector economic activity.

It will also be necessary to rectify the strength of the yen, which has risen to historic highs, to save the export industry from the predicament it now faces. We hope the government and the central bank will look into the possibility of market intervention and further easing of monetary policy. We suggest that they positively study measures, such as the central bank's purchase of foreign government bonds, that will lead to selling of the yen and buying of the U.S. dollar.


Aggressive policies vital

It will be essential to strengthen aggressive policies such as promoting overseas investment by taking advantage of the yen's strength.

Nearly all of the nation's nuclear reactors currently stand idle, leaving the power supply still in limbo. It is feared that the possibility of power shortages will restrain domestic production and investment, further accelerating the hollowing out of industry. Reactors must be put back into operation in rapid succession as soon as their safety is confirmed.

It will also be important to push ahead with a growth strategy by working to expand free trade through participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade framework talks, lowering the corporate tax rate and promoting deregulation for fostering of new industries.

The delay in implementing policies due to the confrontation between ruling and opposition parties over a dissolution of the House of Representatives for a snap election is another factor in the uncertain economic outlook.

The government and ruling parties must work hard to achieve early legislation of important bills, including a special bill for issuance of deficit-covering bonds that is indispensable to the implementation of the budget for the current fiscal year.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 14, 2012)
(2012年8月14日01時32分  読売新聞)


« 終盤国会 民自公で残る懸案に取り組め | トップページ | 五輪閉幕 奮闘した選手をねぎらいたい »





« 終盤国会 民自公で残る懸案に取り組め | トップページ | 五輪閉幕 奮闘した選手をねぎらいたい »