Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reality Starts to Bite

Stratfor has posted a negative outlook for the Japanese economy, echoing many of the concerns I have voiced in several posts over the last half year. It is much needed corrective for the happy talk that has been oozing out of the Kantei and the BOJ--happy talk that has been parroted by the great and good of the international financial system.

Ignore the summary. It is off-the-wall and does not in fact summarize the analysis:

Japan: Dangling on the Edge of Recession

January 30, 2007 19 14 GMT -

Summary - Currency manipulation is shaping up to be a major topic for debate at the upcoming G-7 summit. This time around, however, China will not be the only country facing anger –- so will Japan. Such attention could not come at a worse time for Tokyo.

Analysis - In separate announcements Jan. 29, both the German and Luxembourg finance ministers voiced dissatisfaction with Japan's currency policy. Germany's Peer Steinbrueck said the topic will be brought up at the G-7 summit Feb. 9-10 in his country, while Luxembourg's Jean Claude Junker (who also is the prime minister and the semi-official representative of the common European currency) spoke pointedly. "I want to say more forcefully that Japan's current recovery should be reflected in the yen's exchange rate," he said...

The bright spot in this morass? Stratfor is usually, inexplicably, spectacularly, laughably wrong in its assessments.

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