Japanese stocks surged after the implementation of loose and stimulative policies through so-called Abenomics, but now, Japan’s markets and country-specific exchange traded funds have been stalling due to a consumer tax hike.
Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) has declined 2.1%. Meanwhile, yen-hedged Japan ETFs, WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) and db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBJP), fell 0.8% and d decreased 3.5%, respectively. [Japan ETF Falls Flat As Exporters Stumble]
The April consumption tax hike, along with potential further hikes ahead, and the poor economic data will continue to weigh on Japan for some time, CNBC reports.
“With the consumption tax, we’re not done with this… as the government is poised to take it from 8 to 10 percent next October,” Paul Sheard, chief global economist at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, said on CNBC. “So if they go ahead with that we’re still going to be – for the next year to year and a half – in this no man’s land of not knowing whether what [Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko] Kuroda is doing is successful.”
The economy has been slowing down ever since the sales tax was raised to 8% from 5% in April.
On Friday, the Japanese government revealed that household spending decreased a worse-than-expected 5.9% in July year-over-year, compared to forecasts for a 3% drop. Meanwhile, industrial output also rose a lower-than-expected 0.2% on the month, compared to expectations for a 1.0% rise.