Govt keeps Dec. economic assessment

Jiji Press
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, second from right, attends a Cabinet meeting on the government’s monthly economic report in the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government kept its economic assessment unchanged in a monthly report released Wednesday while warning of the impact of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in China.

“The Japanese economy is picking up moderately,” the Cabinet Office said in the December report, giving this assessment for the sixth consecutive month.

The government lowered its view on the global economy for the first time in four months, mainly citing a pause in China’s economic recovery due to the COVID-19 resurgence.

Looking ahead, the monthly report said that the Japanese economy is “expected to show movements of picking up” amid a transition to the new normal of living with the virus.

At the same time, it called for “full attention” to be paid to the COVID-19 situation in China.

COVID-19 case counts in China have been increasing since November, weighing on its consumption and exports, a Cabinet Office official said. “We need to be cautious about the impact of the COVID-19 resurgence in China on exports and production in Japan,” the official said.

In the December report, the government cut its view on industrial production in Japan for the first time in six months, saying that its recovery is pausing. The November report said it is showing signs of picking up.

While noting that overall production remains firm, the official said “there is a decline in production of electronic devices reflecting a pause in global demand growth for computers and smartphones.”

The government upgraded its view on business sentiment for the first time in 12 months, saying that sentiment is showing signs of picking up. “A weaker yen pushed up profits mainly at manufacturers in July-September,” the official said.

The assessments of all other categories, including private consumption and business investment, were kept intact in the latest report. It said private consumption “is picking up moderately” and business investment “is picking up.”