fxgai comments

Posted in: Aso pushes back on U.S. call for scrutiny of currency moves See in context

As defined, a trade surplus is actually a bad thing.

Exports are things you need to make and they don't do much for you once they are overseas. You get some money for them and that's it.

Imports are things you can buy from overseas with the money you made from your export revenues etc.

So why would anyone want a trade surplus, where it's calculated as exports money minus imports? I'd rather have lots of things from overseas, than not.

Trump is a moron for thinking this is a bad thing.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Aso pushes back on U.S. call for scrutiny of currency moves See in context

Good points by Aso for a change.

he was saying the other day that there is no need for uber in Japan because the taxis here are so awesome, which was just ridiculous.

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Posted in: Japan Inc braces for labor reform See in context

Consumer demand is not GDP. Production is production.

Consumer demand is just a way to measure that which was produced.

Productive workers will be rewarded with good wages and thus the propensity to consume, under the right policies that incentivize productivity. Japan has a long way to go to get there by the sounds of things.

Rating: 0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Can the Japanese government afford to let Toshiba, which fell into a negative net worth of Y620 billion at the end of March due to losses in the U.S. nuclear power business, go under? See in context

Toshiba's Crown Jewels are to be sold off by Toshiba, as it stands, and the viable piece of it is in demand.

The issue seems to be whether something called 'Toshiba' is going to continue to exist at the end of it all, when only the junk is left.

The socially and economically wise outcome there is to let nature take its course, but this is Japan where protectionism is rife and tax payers may find themselves all on the hook to 'protect the lives' of yet another Japanese vested interest group.

The Japanese government will never be saving my source of income, and I wouldn't expect it anyway. Adults can and should take care of themselves.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Can the Japanese government afford to let Toshiba, which fell into a negative net worth of Y620 billion at the end of March due to losses in the U.S. nuclear power business, go under? See in context

The Japanese government has accumulated more than a quaddrillion yen worth of public debt already. It needs to sell off "assets" (in reality, many are more likely liabilities) to help reduce this public debt. The government also needs to rein in public spending to stop public debts from continuing to grow.

Not bail out a failed company like Toshiba.

The worst that can happen for the Japanese government if Toshiba is wound down is that the valuable parts will be sold off, and the economic resources that are released from Toshiba will become available for utilization in viable businesses instead, which in time would boost tax revenues. Toshiba going out of business would therefore be a blessing for the Japanese government and the country as a whole.

The key is to think medium to long term. Not short term. Japanese government and productive Toshiba employees alike. Things will be great.

To facilitate the natural creation of new businesses to take the place of the Toshiba's, the government should focus on structural reforms. Not indebting us all even further.

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Posted in: What do you think of the new Japan Today design? See in context

All those who have paid money for the JapanToday service provides should get their money back. LOL!

Rating: 0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: What do you think of the new Japan Today design? See in context

User story. As a JapanToday account user trying to log in, I want to enter my email, tab to Password box and enter my password, then hit enter. This is in order to log in without wasting time reaching for a mouse to click the log in button.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Aso says Japan won't resort to 'helicopter money' See in context

John, you come across like you think a minimum wage hike is the solution to every problem on Earth.

Australia's good economic growth record has little to do with its minimum wage level. However Japan would do well to look at Australia because there are things to learn. Better still, look at New Zealand, which is ranked #1 in the Doing Business rankings. http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

New Zealand too was on the brink of becoming a basket case state in the 1980's, before great structural reforms were enacted. Deregulation and a rejection of protectionism were some of the key things that took place there.

Japan too needs to reform so that its economic resources are focused in areas that Japan excels at compared with global competitors. Agriculture for example may not be one of those areas, but through its protectionism Japan ensures that its consumers pay through the teeth for things like food that could be available at much cheaper prices. Simply deregulating the agricultural sector and allowing consumers to choose between cheaper foreign products and local ones would have the effect of boosting everyone's disposable income - not just those on the minimum wage. It's these kinds of Big Reforms that Japan needs enacted, rather than fiddling around the edges.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Aso says Japan won't resort to 'helicopter money' See in context

budding signs of recovery in the economy and private consumption

Any signs are meager at best. Japan needs great reforms to become great again.

The only way to solve the problem would be to raise tax, cut spending and take steps to revive the economy, he added.

The trick in hiking taxes is to do it without destroying the incentives for productive economic activity. The only feasible option is to hike the consumption tax rate across the board, without various exemptions as they currently intend to implement. Because introducing exemptions to the tax hike means that the tax rate on other things has to go even higher to produce the same revenues, which in turn will do more damage to economic activity and result in failure.

Tax hikes can't do the all the heavy lifting, so cutting and reforming spending is obviously required, because not only does Japan have massive debts but ongoing massive deficits as well.

Reforms too are required to revive the economy, but Abe is all talk on that front. There are no reformers in power and the Japanese themselves have little demand for the reforms that would boost the country's future prospects.

The other key thing that Aso did not mention is the need to sell off government "assets" to help pay down the existing debts. Privatizing inefficient government operated "assets" (they may in fact be liabilities) will help alleviate the stresses on finances and also potentially contribute to improved economic outcomes.

Other countries have from time to time bitten the bullet and enacted such reforms for the good of their country. Japan could do it too if only people pulled their heads out of the sand and studied such successes from overseas. And then some leadership and guts is needed.

"The economy is likely to do well ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020

Doesn't bode well that this is the best plan they have.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Rare whale meat barbecue restaurant in Osaka spreads food culture See in context

The pro-whalers' ignoring of Japan's own safety standards?

If Japan is ignoring its own safety standards, then it's Japanese who will suffer right? They themselves would realise it if whales were killing them. But Japanese people seem to be in good health. So do Icelanders and Norwegians for that matter. That says it for me, but if you personally take issue with it, I wonder why - since you presumably aren't being forced to eat whale meat. Is it not the case that you just want to tell other people what to do and are using this as an excuse to do so?

A sensible person would at least look into those bananas.

In any case Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is amazing when you consider that Japanese baby boomers were chowing down lots of whale meat in the 1960's. If anything I'd conclude that whales might be a boost for the health, all up.

Rating: -3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Rare whale meat barbecue restaurant in Osaka spreads food culture See in context

if you dont mind then Bon appetite!

It's not that I wouldn't mind, it's that I don't think propaganda and reality necessarily are the same thing. Whale eaters must sure have low life expectancies, right! But whale eaters are surely grateful for your serious concerns about their health.

each bite is a substantial chunk of tax payer money

We should have commercial whaling, so that only the people who want to eat it pay for it. So can Japan please have a commercial whaling quota now? Thanks.

Rating: -6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan's frugal households offer no respite for BOJ, retailers See in context

Japan needs to start paying living wages to contract workers.

Where does that money come from?

Is it good enough to have the Bank of Japan just print some more money off? Or should the government borrow from future generations to come up with the money? Or should businesses charge more from their customers to pay? Or should business owners take the pay cut and pass it on to the people and businesses from which they consume products and services? And should those businesses pass the pay cut on to their workers?

I don't see anyone volunteering to take a pay cut for this. Don't get me wrong - I do want people to be paid more money. But I think in order to be able to pay more, the economy must produce more first.

having a country that saves isn't a bad thing.

That's dead right. A country that doesn't save has to rely on foreigners to provide monies for investment in new businesses. Thankfully Japan has lots of savings, but it's a sad state of affairs that Japanese savers invest so much abroad because there is scant attractive venture to invest in at home (which is why the local economy isn't producing more, and people aren't paid more). Structural reforms and cultural changes could see this change, but the vested interests want their lives protected.

Rating: -1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Rare whale meat barbecue restaurant in Osaka spreads food culture See in context

Whale meat barbecue sounds just delicious. What's everyone complaining about?

Rating: -6 ( +3 / -9 )

Posted in: Japan's frugal households offer no respite for BOJ, retailers See in context

Japanese companies are enjoying their highest profits in history

Tell it to the Toshiba shareholders.

Japanese businesses by and large are old and stale and they aren't doing anything other than just ticking over. Toyota and a few other big exceptions are not the rule.

Japan needs a revamp, public and private sector, and the populace won't feel happy until it has finally happened. The leadership hasn't got the guts to what is needed. Too worried about the next election always. The big pitfall of democracy...

Rating: -2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's frugal households offer no respite for BOJ, retailers See in context

It also highlights a new paradox facing the Bank of Japan: a disparity between solid growth and stubbornly weak inflation.

No disparity. There is no solid growth. And who cares if "inflation" is weak. Normal people like it that the value of their money is stable, as the 80% of households noted in the article recognize despite what the central planners say.

But central bank policymakers are struggling to explain why inflation and wages remain so low even as Japan’s economy enjoys its third-longest recovery since World War Two.

It's easy to explain. It's a pathetic recovery, albeit a long one - it's not like Japan is growing at 4% real GDP is it. Wages are low because of this lack luster economic growth, rigid labour market laws, and Japanese culture (prefering jobs for life rather than jobs for good pay).

Now give me 20 million yen a year and I'll go school those central bank policy makers.

Japan’s economy has sustained a modest recovery cycle that kicked off when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power in late 2012 and launched his “Abenomics” package of aggressive monetary, fiscal stimulus measures and structural reforms.

He never launched the structural reforms, he just talked and talked about it until people stopped believing him. And then he started giving pensioners 30,000 yen handouts and launched new arrows of Abenomics to deflect attention away from his failings.

The benefits of the recovery have yet to reach households, though, despite four years of heavy money printing by the central bank and fiscal spending packages.

That's because those policies by themselves don't work, the structural reforms are required.

Households used 26% of their income to buy food last year, the highest level in almost three decades, leaving them with little left to spend on non-necessities.

It's ridiculous. Japan should deregulate the food business in Japan and allow imports galore. Prices would come down for food consumers - everyone. There would be great benefits as a result, the only losers being the protected vested interests who suddenly have to compete in the global marketplace. But Japan as a whole would win, as would the overseas producers.

None of this is hard to do, except for politicians. We need to drain the Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki swamps.

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Posted in: Japan's frugal households offer no respite for BOJ, retailers See in context

the prospects for Japan’s economic recovery are brighter.

Based on what? Relative to when? Things are better than after 3.11 I think, but the economy is no where near being in good shape. And there are no structural reforms coming down the pipe to suggest that this might change in future.

“I do have money, but I’m frugal anyway. Everyone is like that. That’s just the way it is,” he says.

And isn't it the same everywhere? You'd have to be living in a bubble economy waiting to burst to think otherwise.

Kazuko Sato, a 50-year-old animation artist, also frequents discount chain Daiso, where

“My job and salary are unstable, so I need to be careful about my spending.”

A rational consumer, in any place in the world. The pension scam isn't going to be enough to retire on either so being careful is wise.

The economy and economic growth is based on production and never ending drive to become more efficient. This is what drives the economy - not people blowing away their savings on crap they don't need or can buy for a more reasonable price.

Japan has suffered from economic mismanagement for far too long - in the name of protecting people's lives.

Rating: 3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Nomura targets younger generation as demographic crunch looms See in context

Younger people with less investing experience tend to choose low cost online brokerages....

Good luck Nomura. Investors young and old get no benefit from paying high fees. Most important things for investors are to be diversified, take a long term view, and keep fees low.

Japan doesn't need so many brokerages. But like everything here in Japan these old zombies will keep trying to tick things over rather than just wrap old businesses up and look for newer ventures in which to provide value to the community and make profits in the process.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: INTERVIEW-Japan should use U.S. economic talks to boost investment - govt adviser See in context

Great idea, have the central planners decide what to do in order to manipulate the trade balance. My taxes at work, wonderful.

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Posted in: France election: Far-left Melenchon enjoys late poll surge See in context

Geez France, spoiled for choice of which Hell to go to.

Rating: 0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Toshiba's survival in doubt after reporting unaudited results See in context

if it turns around somehow (J -government support for a while?) then it could really go up.

I don't pay taxes to the government so that they can gamble my money away for me. Cheers.

Rating: 1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Toshiba's survival in doubt after reporting unaudited results See in context

how about all the ordinary people who work for them, that then support their families? They shouldn’t lose their jobs because of poor management.

It's not nice to have your place of employment go down, but it's certainly not the end of the world.

In the short term, there is unemployment insurance etc to support people who have temporarily lost a job.

Longer term, a failed company collapsing has the benefit of unlocking the potential of those productive workers for use in socially beneficial ventures elsewhere. Those people aren't useless, all they need is a positive optimistic attitude and their futures are brighter now than they would be had they kept plodding along at Toshiba.

the government can't let them go under, or they'd face major issues with maintaining their systems.

Other capitalist organizations can pick over the remains of Toshiba if there is any value there. The government would be making (another) big mistake if they don't let this failure fail.

Rating: -1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: It’s totally unhealthy. Japan’s business cycle isn’t working. When no old companies go out of business, no new ones can come in because there isn’t room. The old companies will always compete on price See in context

This isn't necessarily a bad thing to the economy as a whole. With companies kept afloat it keeps people working meaning less people out of job resulting to lower unemployment rate.

Ideally, I think we want to have a balance in the labour market. One where companies that pay well can attract good staff (and thus have an incentive to provide good work conditions), and where workers who slack off don't get work (and thus have an incentive to become more productive).

I think this is how we get economic progress. A low unemployment rate might sound good for the workers, but may not be good for the economy as a whole.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan should push back against U.S. attack on yen policy, says Abe adviser See in context


A weaker yen means more exports and more exports means more current account surplus. Right ?

Interestingly, Japan did not experience a commensurate increase in the volume of exports as a result of the 25-30% decline in the value of the yen against the dollar. However the dollars buying those exports when converted to yen are worth more yen than when the yen was stronger, so in yen terms the value of exports does increase, even if the volume has not.

I think the idea should be to increase the volume of exports though, rather than the number of zeros in yen-denominated bank accounts.

But in any case, yes an increase in exports (volume or value in yen terms) would effect the current account positively.

However Japan ostensibly pursued it's currency manipulation for the purpose of achieving an inflation target, not to improve its current account balance or weaken the yen. Those are just side effects, sheer coincidences. At least the side effects worked, even if the main intent of higher inflation wasn't achieved!

Rating: 1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump and taxes: Back to drawing board, seeks GOP consensus See in context

his exceedingly challenging endgame: reducing tax rates enough to spur faster growth without blowing up the budget deficit.

If you boost growth through tax cuts, you'll get more tax revenues than you might expect if just calculating the lower revenues due to the lower tax rates.

If you still have a bigger budget deficit, you prioritize your spending to reduce/eliminate it.

Common sense, but also I heard that Trump said he won't be touching the so-called 'entitlements' in the US. So unless he really boosts economic growth the deficit isn't going to get any smaller (assuming he keeps his promise regarding 'entitlements').

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Stakes high as Abe eyes labor reform to boost economy See in context

Private consumption, accounting for roughly 60 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product

This is commonly stated, but in fact, nonsense.

Consumption is not gross domestic product. Consumption is the consumption of what is produced.

The backwards notion that consumption is production stems solely from one of the ways in which GDP is calculated, the so-called "expenditure approach". It's merely that economists seek to measure what is produced by looking at what people have spent money on, be it households, government or businesses.

The same "expenditure approach" has it that imports subtract from GDP. Imports are subtracted only because imports are not produced domestically, and therefore spending on them should not be counted.

Yet as a result there are people who believe that trade "deficits" are bad, when in fact having a trade "deficit" indicates that you are prosperous and can buy lots of stuff from overseas.

What Abe needs to be looking at is boosting actual productivity (to boost the Product in GDP, who'd have thunk it). I doubt Premium Friday will aid that much. Rather I'd prefer to have a "lets work smarter" campaign instead. Get more done in the same time, or less.

Rating: 2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan should push back against U.S. attack on yen policy, says Abe adviser See in context

“Japan’s monetary policy is targeted strictly at domestic economic targets.”

No it isn't. They just say that to the American audience, but while monetary policy has not helped the Bank of Japan meet its inflation target, it has resulted in a much weaker yen than before Abenomics began.

Rating: 0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Federer climbs rankings after Miami win; Nishikori drops to 7th See in context

Federer isn't playing the clay court season but the stellar results he posted in the first quarter of the season pretty much guarantee he'll finish the year in top four. Good results at Wimbledon the US Open and the ATP finals could see him in the race to end the year at number one, again.

Probably jumping the gun... Djokovic looked like he'd chase down Federers Grand Slams record this time last year, now that doesn't look any where near so likely.

Hopefully Murray and Djokovic will both be back fit and fighting before long.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Venus beats No. 1 Kerber; unseeded Fognini ousts Nishikori at Miami Open See in context


I read that he isn't scheduled to play Monte Carlo.

Well done to Nishikori for making the quarters at two ATP 1000s back-to-back. That's why he's top eight.

Again though, he needs to find a way to win matches without getting injured towards the business end of the tournaments, to improve his chances of getting the break through win that he has as a goal.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Federer, Nadal, Nishikori reach Miami Open quarterfinals See in context

I read he did lose the QF, that's a shame! Might slip a few rungs in the rankings as a result.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Federer, Nadal, Nishikori reach Miami Open quarterfinals See in context

Socrateos, he made the final here last season. The conditions in Miami suit him relatively well.

Smith, I wasn't critcizing the media, I was mocking the local media police... Lol.

Rating: 1 ( +1 / -0 )

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