This past week we visited our clients and friends in Japan. The last time we did, three months before Covid, that nation’s GDP had ended modestly down 0.2%. During 2020 it plunged 4.3%; about twice as sluggish as the US.
Japan’s economy rebounded strongly in 2021 to 2.1% and slowed to 1.1% last year. Projections for this year are settling in around the average growth for the past two years. Analysts say the nation’s birth rate – down annually since 2010 – contributes to slower growth.
Japan is struggling with the same issues of all developed economies: supply chain concerns, inflation and commodity prices. Although compared to the US and much of Europe, Japan’s consumer price index of 3-4% is not as elevated. That’s allowed the BOJ to keep rates at a much lower level, around 0.5%.