- Demand has been slowing in Japan. A record fiscal budget will keep the economy afloat in 2019, along with hoarding effects in the run-up to the VAT hike in October. From 2020 onwards, the economy will have to find support abroad to keep growing. We expect GDP growth of 1.0% in 2019 and 0.5% in 2020 and 2021.
- With a shrinking population, exports are key to growth, even if the Japanese economy is quite closed. A rebound in global growth therefore remains paramount to the outlook.
- The VAT hike poses a risk to domestic demand, although the impact should be much smaller than after previous tax hikes. Future trade negotiations between the US and Japan could also cause some turbulence.
- The inflation outlook still looks modest and we expect the Bank of Japan to remain on hold through 2021.
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