ALERT : Japan to downgrade fiscal 2016 growth forecast

The Japanese government will cut its fiscal 2016 estimate for real economic growth from 1.7% to 0.9%, owing to uncertainty over the global economy and expectations of lower consumption after a tax hike set for the following year was delayed.

The nominal growth forecast will be lowered from 3.1% to 2.2%. The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy will release the adjusted outlook Wednesday for approval by the cabinet. The new figures will not take into account a stimulus package to be put together as soon as early August.

 The downgrade owes partly to the postponement of a consumption tax hike that had been slated for April 2017. The January estimate had factored in a surge in demand ahead of the increase. With the hike having been pushed back, the government will cut its projection for real consumer spending growth from 2% to around 1%.

Another issue is uncertainty surrounding the global economy, stemming from such factors as the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union. The yen’s unexpected strength and slowdowns in China and other emerging markets are expected to depress exports and capital spending.

The Japanese government plans to set its real and nominal growth estimates for fiscal 2017 at 1.2% and 2.2%, respectively. It sees growth picking up slightly as the world economy gradually improves.

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