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Japan inflation hits 4.2% in January

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Expect more inflation as the yen is dropping due to the previous policy (BOJ& govt) remaining unchanged.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

No one will dear blame UKraine and Western sanctions. It’s too unfashionable.

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

No one will dear blame UKraine and Western sanctions. It’s too unfashionable.

Because inflation is a multifaceted phenomena for which cookie-cutter excuses are not appropriate.

Japan has not had inflation in nearly 30 years. Deflation has been the rule of the day. So sudden price increases are shocking in their effect.

There is inflation because the ability of firms to wring cost savings from their systems has been exhausted, because of Covid and the global supply disruption that resulted.

There is inflation because of the surge in demand for almost all goods and services (sorry Peloton) post-pandemic.

And yes, there is inflation because of geopolitical turbulence of which Ukraine is one part.

But sure, blame it all on Ukraine.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

and that the bank should stay the course until sustained rises linked to factors like wage hikes are seen.

And given the 30 year track record of LDP policies, Abenomics, New Capitalism, and BOJ policies they have been and will be waiting around a long time to see the effects of those "wage hikes".

In the mean time, let the socialism for the rich continue!

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/qe-the-ultimate-subsidy-for-the-rich/

Economics is ,largely, a non-science that has been warped to validate the most appalling policies. I am including Marxist dialectical arguments as well that led to mas misery.

Add trickle down QE to that list.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

@kurisupu

Expect more inflation as the yen is dropping due to the previous policy (BOJ& govt) remaining unchanged.

a bit early to say. Of course Ueda could not announce huge changes yesterday because he is still waiting to be officially confirmed by the parliament. And also he needs to assess the situation which take some time. Let see in 6 months.

-1(

q

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@dagon

why don’t you mention the weak yen. By saying that there will be no change of monetary policy for the next 2 to 3 years Kuroda contributed to the collapse of the JPY. This represents a substantial part of current inflation. This was self inflicted by this stubborn dude.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Japan's consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in January from a year earlier, a level not seen since September 1981,

It's higest in 42 Years! There is group of people, like people in their 40s, 30s and 20s never get used to this price hike. Even for older people who already retire they are not get used to this, since it will take away their saving in faster way.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

and it will get worse

there is no sign that the curve is leveling off. Expect more and more inflation

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

NemoToday  

Because inflation is a multifaceted phenomena for which cookie-cutter excuses are not appropriate.

Japan has not had inflation in nearly 30 years. Deflation has been the rule of the day. So sudden price increases are shocking in their effect.

There is inflation because the ability of firms to wring cost savings from their systems has been exhausted, because of Covid and the global supply disruption that resulted.

There is inflation because of the surge in demand for almost all goods and services (sorry Peloton) post-pandemic.

I disagree. Inflation is worldwide caused by globalist policies. Driving up the energy costs by banning fossil fuels in name of climate change, low supplies (demand is still the same), straining the supply chains in useless lockdowns, and fiscal spending.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

NemoToday  

Because inflation is a multifaceted phenomena for which cookie-cutter excuses are not appropriate.

Japan has not had inflation in nearly 30 years. Deflation has been the rule of the day. So sudden price increases are shocking in their effect.

There is inflation because the ability of firms to wring cost savings from their systems has been exhausted, because of Covid and the global supply disruption that resulted.

There is inflation because of the surge in demand for almost all goods and services (sorry Peloton) post-pandemic.

I disagree. Inflation is worldwide caused by globalist policies. Driving up the energy costs by banning fossil fuels in name of climate change, low supplies (demand is still the same), straining the supply chains in useless lockdowns, and fiscal spending.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Food giants are loving the food price hikes. No one can survive without food and no matter how expensive food is they know you will eventually have to eat. You can’t beat that.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

BOJ's strategy of waiting and hoping for inflation to go away is reckless. Yen is sliding again.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

this is just a beginning,many people having problems to survive month to month but gov is planning buy new US weapons because have to act in name of US interests.

LDP crooks are daylight thieves.stealing future from new generations.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Very convenient to leave out the food prices and energy bills in the inflation numbers. This way you can make it look more reasonable. The problem is that 60 percent of your expenditures is food, energy and mortgage/rent

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Don’t hold your breath waiting for your pay to go up in tandem!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Almost everything you try to buy is 20% more and/or smaller/poorer quality.

it’s even announced that the prices on x number of items going up 15% on a certain date.

yet the math people say inflation is 4.2%. We need new math people.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

 Times are already tough, and they’re likely only going to get tougher from here on out.

exactly. dark days coming.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

No one will dear blame UKraine and Western sanctions. It’s too unfashionable.

Sigh.

Because the vast majority of people who live in democratic, free nations are not stupid enough to blame a small nation that has been invaded and attacked by a huge totalitarian bully.

You are lucky you do not reveal your anti-west, anti-Japan, pro-fascist Russian sentiments in real life. (You know you don't)

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Because inflation is a multifaceted phenomena for which cookie-cutter excuses are not appropriate.

That's what people say when their choices of politicians are in office. When they aren't, the finger pointing is on full display.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's Inflation's obviously real, question's WHY?! Let me share some thoughts on possible logical reasons....

1) Govt. tax revenues UP; both sales tax on larger price base & income tax on individual/Corps - 'bracket creep'

2) Pressure those in workforce to STAY and those not in workforce to JOIN

3) Devaluation of Yen of course helps exporters BUT also helps performance of overseas investments, whether operational or financial, when converted back into Yen

E.g. Japan's world's largest bond holdings; record $DOLLAR losses last year, actually WORST in hundreds of YEARS (approx. 22% for most broad based global fixed income ETF funds) - Yen basis approx. break-even!

4) Helps 'monetize' the existing Japanese Govt. debt securities, approaching 300% of GDP officially, unofficially WAY larger, BOJ balance sheet ALONE pure money printing, including approx. 60% of Govt. bonds/debt

5) If Japan so 'concerned' about inflation, just why did they print 113 Trillion of NEW Govt. Bonds in 2022 alone?, that's roughly 20% of the GDP?!?! Year before was ONLY 73 Trillion, this year SURELY larger given than 2022.....

So when the politicians saying they're concerned about inflation, like a consumer walking into a fast food restaurant saying they're concerned about their health!

What you ALL need to know is Inflation is better than DEFLATION long-term, ESPECIALLY for the Japanese Govt./not you...but that's for another discussion!

If you'll look at my comments on the Mansion market in Japan article, you'll understand Japan's desperate to escape the deflation trap it's been locked into for decades, taking advantage of current inflationary global/macro/pandemic environment, so bend over!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I came to Japan in 1995. Since then, the LDP has been trying - and failing - to increase inflation, because some nonsense about if people have to spend more money on things the economy will bloom.

Now inflation is finally here - no thanks to the LDP - and suddenly, quelle surprise - everything costing more means people whose wages haven't increased for 30 years can't buy things and inflation is bad.

It's all bollox.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@The NomadToday  09:46 am JST

Very convenient to leave out the food prices and energy bills in the inflation numbers. 

This is standard practice for all central banks to provide several figures for inflation (not only the central bank of Japan).

·      All prices.

·       All prices - **fresh **food (“core inflation”). Fresh food price (not processed food) varies a lot in both directions according to factors like weather...etc. For example, I saw recently.

the broccoli price go from 130 to 290 and then back to 150 JPY in the space of a few weeks. So, it makes sense to show a measure of inflation without is to show the medium-term trend of inflation.

·      All prices - fresh food- energy (“core core”). Energy prices are also volatile as well.

All these figures are available on the BOJ website, are interesting to look at, and serve different purposes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Clay

Interesting. Thanks. How do you see the situation 5 years from now?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why inflation's so desirable relative to deflation?

1) Problem with deflation's is everyone, business and consumers think, let's just wait, prices will drop...

2) Mentality/mindset of waiting deprives economy of MUCH needed investment, basis for productivity/wealth

3) Also damages consumption and incentives savings, again DAMAGING the economy, Japan's become relatively MUCH poorer on any basis since 1990 vs. other industrialized countries

I ask WHO would buy a home and land with land prices steadily dropping since 1990? People buy homes and land for inflation protection, meaning asset appreciation. That's WHY we have 10+ Zombie/Empty homes in Japan and why Mansions so desirable...no land! It'll be 20M empty zombie homes soon as depopulation accelerates!

4) With such a situation above, why should companies raise wages, as everything getting cheaper, so you don't need a raise, so vicious cycle of deflation takes hold

5) Demographic disaster totally correlates with above environment lack of 'inflation', terrible economy etc.

Trust me, no policy-maker thinks the LOST 1990-2022 period should continue...hence INFLATION 're-set' we're now experiencing, Govt's intent to tap into all these savings, spend, stimulate, etc.

Only problem? It's all an 'inflation' money game, demographics is destiny, BOJ say population will be approx. 86M by 2060 and THAT assumes depopulation stays constant for next 37 years....and given what I know, expect population to hit that level around 2045, hardly inflationary...given reduced consumption, all these estates seeking to sell their homes etc.

Given Covid-19's increasing contribution to excess morbidity, rapid aging, incredibly high debt levels, steadily dropping number of births, massive ongoing land and residential real estate (largest financial asset class in society) deflation, global competition and technology, etc., everything points towards deflation butt that won't stop Policy-Makers from trying to INFLATE!

WORLD's biggest borrower as % of GDP? JAPAN!

Remember WORST thing for borrowers is DEFLATION...the best thing? INFLATION!!!!

Exactly who's surprised official headline inflation of only 4.1%? If expecting inflation honesty and transparency, then you're not exactly sharpest knife in the drawer... personally, surprised the official numbers not lower!

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Oops, meant 4.2%, inflation is tricky!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Regarding future Rakuraku.....

Country's irrelevant, there's no more logical economic basis for country culture and this reality's the CORE reason for worlds problems including INFLATION

What successful Corp promotes their 'country culture'?

What science/tech has 'country/Govt.' created recently?

E.g. US Govt. Space efforts, PURELY funding/budget, ZERO talent

World's locked in a battle, legacy cultures vs. global/science/tech/elite, it's everywhere but one can just look closely at the EV industry as a great example of this disruption

Govt's are WEAPONIZING inflation to enhance their power AND damage the true creators of wealth, societal solutions/technology/productivity/etc.

NOWHERE is 'war' MORE true than HERE, inflation's going to be running HOT HOT HOT here because the patient's dying. No 'talent' in their right mind would invest here, that's the core economic problem actually

5 years? We might not have 5 days unfortunately...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@Clay

Thanks.

Quite dark…

Taking into consideration your view how a JPY-based investor can invest his JPY cash sitting at the bank?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Raku, love the tagline! Ok, thing's everyone's different, risk preference, timeline, skill-sets, etc. For most this means solid smart diversification, especially given inflation's really just a 'clever' tax...

Your best investments are always your health, skill-sets, and loved ones. Skill-sets that solve others problems always best, even better if they've got deep pockets!

Always best to invest in YOURSELF and in others/things you REALLY know/understand. Worst thing? Opposite

Great risk reward for many in this era who are Japan based? Creation of 'digital assets' with global reach. Why? Can relocate instantly and your biz is untouched, that's pretty important given world we now live in is not the one we want!

Another asset's low cost index funds with strong track records, that fit your 'portfolio' needs

For most trying to be 'active' is not advised, can invest in funds with active strategies, leverage, hedging, etc. It's a stock picker trading environment now, but always best to dollar cost average over time/invest monthly if a passive mutual fund investor

Imagine if North Korea/Iran etc. starting setting off nukes in space to disable and destroy entire global economy? Easy to do, it could even be an 'accident'. There's no safe stock. Just look EMP weapons, Russia's the only country that's ever used them and they were incredibly effective. They could shut Ukraine instantly anytime only they PREFER to conduct this war to FUEL INFLATION

Remember, everyone says, oh the Russian economy shrank 2% last year, but they were not printing any money, they have almost no debt, they have a fortress resource based economy, not highly leveraged, I'm not picking sides rather I'm pointing out facts, meanwhile UKraine's economy is gone

Seems my 'dark' inflation reality is not too popular; the numbers tell a story and inflation numbers are part of a much larger global story to be sure....we all live in the most dangerous time in the history world and it's escalating, so act accordingly, have your plan B, C and D

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan fulfilled the 2% inflation rate finally but it is not what they expected.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

But the Bank of Japan has so far bucked the trend set by peers abroad who have hiked rates to tackle rising prices.

And it hasn't worked.

Canada is threatening to raise rates again if companies don't stop raising prices.

Companies say they need to raise prices because they are paying higher interest rates.

Home owners expecting to pay $1500 a month mortgage are now paying over $4000 because of variable rates.

So raise the rates prices go up, prices go up raise the rates and around and around we go!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yes, healthy inflation's DEMAND 'pull' and sustainable

Unhealthy inflation's Supply 'shock' and transitory

Too much inflation's TERRIBLE

Too little inflation/deflation's TERRIBLE

Why EVERY central banker, even in richest countries in world like Norway, Switzerland etc. all want healthy 2% secular inflation, promotes investment and consumption which every economy needs for productivity growth

Japan's inflation's transitory with long term structural deflation.. To escape two things especially needed;

1) Wage inflation that's broad based, has to be based on productivity gains/greater 'output'

2) Risk capital investing in assets contributing to productivity growth

1 and #2 go hand in hand yet isn't it interesting how little the private sector actually invests in Japan?

Surely you've all heard of this exciting new semi conductor consortium, forget the name, anyway it's handful of large companies participating like Toyota etc. What's interesting is the companies are investing almost no capital, it's taxpayer/BOJ money printing.

Normal semi-conductor investment, say Apple, value's all in IP, design, etc., customized for THEIR products and services, then they naturally outsource production to a 'fab' because that's low 'value-add'/commodity, scale biz etc. I wonder about above? Govt owns the IP? What exactly does the Govt. sell in markets?

Same story with ETF equity shares, Govt. Debt, etc., it's all Government money, they're only serious investor anymore and there's almost no VC industry here, etc.

My point is Japan has LOST its ability to invest, Govt. take-over. Do you think that leads to high productivity outcomes and durable wage gains?

Can anyone imagine great 'tech' genius wanting to deal with Govt. suits that control the organization? Process of creation requires freedom, ownership, speed, discretion, and concentrated risk in order to the change the world!

This is the brain drain in action folks, no tech talent can endure such an operating culture... but hey, that's life!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Before I forget, 2% sustainable inflation requires REAL positive interest rates...not YCC 0% madness

Banks/financiers/investors need to be compensated in order to provide risk capital and why Govt's ONLY real investor in Japan now, because when you simply print money there's no real risk/too big to fail

Think TEPCO Fukashima Daiichi, it's same logic actually, if it blows up somebody else will pay for it, like all those with cancer, forced to re-locate, genetic defects, nature becoming not so 'natural' etc.

Am I bugging you, should we just pretend everything's ok?!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's worth noting that since 1990, if Japan had replicated South Korea's economic performance globalized and integrated into world economy technologically....

These are ballpark numbers but approx. 10x less public debt; SKorea had FAR more than Japan in 1990, now about 5x less and Japan's GDP would be 2 - 3x greater

Now isn't that interesting, maybe Govt. control's not such a good idea if you're interested in 'growing' the pie and not destroying future generations with mountains of debt

Eg. Mitsubishi just announced it would abandon the airliner business because they found it incompatible with their corporate culture.... WWAAAAAAAAAAA

News alert, NO AIRLINE executive cares about the culture of Airline Makers or their MANY vendors...rather they care about safety, efficiency, reliability, ROI, etc.

Real 'likely' Reason? Govt. subsidies dried up and/or the BOJ's printing press had a 'malfunction'!

HAHAHHAHAHA...I ain't joking but I hope you can at least enjoy my attempt at humor, I mean we do deserve some sort of 'dividend' given all the taxes we pay, and even more now with inflation!

Note this is a discussion about inflation, so I need to get that word embedded or they might not allow this entertaining post. Never forget, truth IS stranger than fiction and the truth here's truly strange....

SK's found a nice balance, sustainable secular inflation, risk capital, real interest rates, global education focus etc., but does seem SK women don't want babies, fewest globally must be VERY sexist...just guessing folks as I've not been there, can you say battle of the sexes!

You all have a great weekend, going to sign off now and talk with a real fat cat about inflation, they like me because I'm so different actually and do remember that everyone's officially an expert but it's an illusion....

For example, if you stand in any serious ski chalet enjoying a nice beverage, everyone looks great, they even look great on the nice friendly manicured slopes. Everyone's there to impress, they've got it down to a science...only problem's when forced to actually ski real terrain, suddenly nobody can remember how to ski!

That my friends is one ultimate truth and inflation's a great subject and the gift that keeps on giving!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Inflation is global! At this point the people who work everyday paying bills and buying basic supplies to sustain life are the ones who feel it the most. Rich people can survive it for them it’s just a small dent in their pockets but for average workers that small hit hurts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The worse part is, even if only temporary, wage rises just aren't keeping up with inflation. No disposable income, no spending, another lost decade.

I have to admit, I am still pro-easing (per Kuroda), but when my favourite katsu bowl is ¥1,800 now vs 1,200 in 2020, that's a lot more than 4% inflation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's not forget inflation could and should be MUCH worse here in Japan....why you ask?!

1) BOJ's buying equity ETF/REIT/Other share issuances in order to NOT panic credit rating agencies and global fixed income in particular with normal central banking purchases limited to primarily Govt. debt securities

Have your cake and eat it to, 'share' sellers get cashed out, pay taxes, Govt. takes control of these securities, naturally 'opaque' ETF structure and increase in leverage utilizing debt instruments not needed!

Keep in mind all the 'income' generation from these assets, whether dividends or share buy-back flows back to the BOJ coffers, like a 'tax' really, reducing the money supply and thus inflation

2) Furthermore, #1 above acts to 'prop' up asset classes and markets, like steroids help a body builder

Some INTENDED consequences include increasing capital gains taxation. It's no accident Japan's markets massively outperformed their regional peers during depth of pandemic 2020 & 2021

Anyone think BOJ pays capital gains taxes on its share purchases?!

One must remember Japan's consumers and businesses like a dog that's been kicked daily for decades, deflation's been the norm for real reasons after all, meaning there's almost no belief in the future...overall land prices peaked in 1990 on average etc.

Thus, probably not great idea to 'let' markets crash, that's BOJ logic for above asset purchase program/money printing/take-over of the entire economy. Keep in mind these asset purchase programs are growing rapidly and already several times the size of the underlying economy...with no end in sight

Keep in mind MOST assets controlled by BOJ already, whether Govt. Debt or ETF shares. Govt. effectively controls 'voting' power of listed companies and more so EVERY DAY

Anyone believe such Govt. control of the economy leads to real productivity, structural/healthy inflation etc.?

By far largest impact's keeping rates artificially low, huge subsidy to companies, all else equal they can keep their prices lower than if they paid 'market' based rates. Not coincidently, Govt. has almost no servicing cost on its growing mountain of debt.

3) Important to note, NO OTHER global central bank purchases such assets, gentleman's agreement's always been limited to Govt. debt securities and banking credit instruments e.g, mortgages

Govt's decided to diversify away from debt for reasons above, easy to keep rates artificially low given their control of Govt. debt market's structure (60% and growing) and since serious long-term foreign investors are mission impossible (Japan's 'death star'), their asset purchase program designed to appeal to flow/macro/hedge funds etc. Again, huge capital gains taxation driver for Govt. and another Corp. subsidy in terms of share price support etc. World's largest pachinko casino, no fundamental basis, pure BOJ steroid money printing. Worth noting, EVERYONE loves Yen volatility, great selling point for this crowd/market!

Given BOJ's world's largest buyer, only central bank truly directly active in financial markets, fundamentals matter far less as they can step in and control markets anytime, so nobody fears serious downside, that's huge for the flow/macro crowd, keeps the shorts out, so 'stability', as this is consensus Japan after all

To summarize, difficult to have true wage based inflation due to investment and productivity gains as Govt. not capable in this regard, as nobody with serious talent wants to work for or partner with Govt. controlled organizations, thus BOJ money printing/asset purchases will lead to greater Govt. ownership and control and underperforming productivity and thus structural deflation likely continues with asset prices outside pachinko markets and demographics the true 'tell'

This is why NOBODY believes normal healthy inflation will take hold here in a durable meaningful manner...what's happening now with inflations purely based on outside supply shock factors, nothing structural within Japan

You won't read above in Mainstream media, everything here's a money game designed to benefit and empower Govt, inflation's just a trigger for MORE such games including new clever versions!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Population's the 'demand force' driving inflation or lack thereof, lets never forget...while the driving 'supply force' is money supply

Japan and entire world facing a major adverse inflation demographic catalyst in Covid-19, meaning LESS people equals LESS demand equals LESS INFLATION all else being equal

World had LOWEST % population growth in history of record keeping in 2022, meaning 'structural' inflation's DECREASING all else being equal

Japan as world's OLDEST country with high recent rates of infection at particular risk demographically for higher rates of depopulation or 'excess' death associated with infection, meaning LESS INFLATION all else being equal

Would not advise 'katsu bowl' for health reasons and future health expenditures associated with such dietary choices, there will be MANY fewer buyers doing so, do to above, and therefore all else equal LESS INFLATION

Any discussion about inflation has to permit discussion about important catalysts, like Covid-19, effecting the underlying population that constitutes much of the demand of such inflation!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Clay- Your posts have been VERY informative and entertaining. Enjoyed reading them and agreed with pretty much everything you said.

Hope you keep posting.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks Aly, I'll weigh in if I have time and something worthwhile to offer, I think it's important for people to understand truth is not limited to mainstream media, especially regarding a complex subject like inflation....

Suspect my posts not 'popular' or welcome in aggregate because likely challenges their sense of truth, confidence in system, etc. Likely foreigners in Japan less threatened while those native more threatened...

Not sure hearing about someone's 'expensive' consumer experience creates much value, why I believe depth of understanding to be a better approach. Let me share one last 'inflation' analogy related to the above

Your average Japanese person feels great about their 'kanji' skills, even though almost nobody writes anymore due software etc. Almost no company or organization 'values' kanji, rather most believe it's huge waste of educational resources. E.g. US State Dept. believes mastery of Japanese takes 8-10x more 'time' than English/German/Korean. Naturally that leaves LESS time for other skills that will be more 'productive'/inflationary!

However, if I deal with HIGH performance Japanese, especially under the age of 50, basically to a person they're MAD about wasting their education resource on Kanji they no longer use, understand the true opportunity cost of this 'deflationary' asset they acquired etc. and likely why I'm in their life!

But that's only 1-2% of Japanese that fall into the 'truth' camp about kanji as it relates to the marketplace reality/lack of demand/lack of inflation etc. Any real surprise I'm not popular? If I point out that famous company XYZ hires 10x more Koreans than Japanese....such facts are not appreciated!

Nearly everyone's 'constrained'...and the truth is very inconvenient, especially for those old folks at the top of the food chain who are 'set', couldn't care less about inflation etc. but rather use inflation to preserve their power, privilege, etc.

One must remember the context we find ourselves, especially recent history including bubble bursting, it's incredibly conservative here and this 'new' experience with inflation is thus far more disruptive to social stability than other areas of world far more accustomed to inflation

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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