Japanese Stockmarket Enjoys a Suga Rush As PM Steps Down

The Japanese stock market has hit a 30-year high following the resignation of prime minister Yoshihide Suga.

Japanese stocks have hit a 30-year high following the resignation of prime minister Yoshihide Suga. Suga, who has only been in office for a year, had become widely unpopular as his government failed to get on top of a surge in Covid-19 infections. A slow vaccine rollout and the controversial decision to go ahead with hosting the Olympics despite the pandemic also sapped his support. He will step down before a general election scheduled for later this year. 

Japan’s Topix index reacted to the news by hitting its highest level since April 1991, says Bloomberg. Investors had once had high hopes for Suga, who vowed to accelerate Japan’s digital shift (see also page 28). In February this year the Nikkei 225 index hit the symbolic 30,000-level for the first time since 1990. Yet it fell back as Covid-19 came to dominate his premiership: “Suga had created an atmosphere of uncertainty… there was a perception that Japan was ‘in a mess’”, says Richard Kaye of Comgest Asset Management Japan.  The Topix has gained 6.5% during the past month alone.

In most countries investors dislike the uncertainty of an upcoming election, says Takeshi Kawasaki for Nikkei Asia. Not in Japan. “Looking at the ten early elections held since 1990, stocks rose nearly every time between the day of the lower house being dissolved and the election date”. 

What seems to happen is that headlines about Japanese politics grab the attention of foreign money managers. They decide they like what they see and buy. “Typically at the mercy of trends in US equities” thanks to Wall Street’s tendency to set the tone for world markets, Japanese stocks are likely to go their own way over the coming months.

By: Alex Rankine

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Critics:

The Tokyo Stock Exchange (東京証券取引所, とうきょうしょうけんとりひきじょ), abbreviated as Tosho (東証) or TSE/TYO, is a stock exchange located in Tokyo, Japan. It is the third largest stock exchange in the world by aggregate market capitalization of its listed companies, and the largest in Asia. It had 2,292 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of US$5.67 trillion as of February 2019.

The exchange is owned by the Japan Exchange Group (JPX), a holding company that it also lists (TYO: 8697). JPX was formed from its merger with the Osaka Exchange; the merger process begins in July 2012, when said merger was approved by the Japan Fair Trade Commission.[2] JPX itself was launched on January 1, 2013.

The TSE is incorporated as a kabushiki gaisha with nine directors, four auditors and eight executive officers. Its headquarters are located at 2-1 NihonbashiKabutochō, Chūō, Tokyo which is the largest financial district in Japan. Its operating hours are from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m., and from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. From April 24, 2006, the afternoon trading session started at its usual time of 12:30 p.m..

Stocks listed on the TSE are separated into the First Section for large companies, the Second Section for mid-sized companies, and the Mothers section for high-growth startup companies, and the TOKYO PRO Market section for more flexible alternative investment. As of October 31, 2010, there are 1,675 First Section companies, 437 Second Section companies and 182 Mothers companies.

The main indices tracking the TSE are the Nikkei 225 index of companies selected by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japan’s largest business newspaper), the TOPIX index based on the share prices of First Section companies, and the J30 index of large industrial companies maintained by Japan’s major broadsheet newspapers.

Ninety-four domestic and 10 foreign securities companies participate in TSE trading. See: Members of the Tokyo Stock Exchange

Other TSE-related institutions include:

  • The exchange’s press club, called the Kabuto Club (兜倶楽部, Kabuto kurabu), which meets on the third floor of the TSE building. Most Kabuto Club members are affiliated with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Kyodo News, Jiji Press, or business television broadcasters such as Bloomberg LP and CNBC. The Kabuto Club is generally busiest during April and May, when public companies release their annual accounts.

Market Movers

Constituents of the Nikkei 225 with the highest percent gain over one day.

ListingLastChangeVolume
Shinsei Bank Ltd8303:TYO1,968.00
JPY
+228.00
+13.10%
9.68m
Toho Zinc Co Ltd5707:TYO2,841.00
JPY
+130.00
+4.80%
805.10k
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd3099:TYO808.00
JPY
+35.00
+4.53%
2.68m
Hitachi Zosen Corp7004:TYO947.00
JPY
+32.00
+3.50%
3.45m
DeNA Co Ltd2432:TYO2,167.00
JPY
+72.00
+3.44%
709.60k
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd9107:TYO6,380.00
JPY
+190.00
+3.07%
5.45m
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp4188:TYO1,040.50
JPY
+26.50
+2.61%
5.67m
Meiji Holdings Co Ltd2269:TYO7,260.00
JPY
+170.00
+2.40%
537.60k
Pacific Metals Co Ltd5541:TYO2,094.00
JPY
+44.00
+2.15%
596.40k
Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd5706:TYO3,590.00
JPY
+75.00
+2.13%
587.70k

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China’s GDP Surge Is Chance To Reboot Country’s Image On World Stage

China’s economy had a great 12 months, leading the globe out of the Covid-19 era. Yet the last year has damaged something equally important: Beijing’s soft power.

Beijing’s handling of questions about what happened in Wuhan—and why officials were so slow to warn the world about a coming pandemic—boggles the mind. If China’s handling of the initial outbreak was indeed the “decisive victory” that it claims, why overreact to Australia’s call for a probe?

Harvard Kennedy School students might one day take classes recounting how China’s leaders squandered the Donald Trump era. As the U.S. president was undermining alliances, upending supply chains, losing allies, and playing down the pandemic, Beijing had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase the country’s influence at Washington’s expense.

And now, many in Beijing appear to understand the extent to which they blew it. Earlier this month, Xi Jinping urged the Communist Party to cultivate a “trustworthy, lovable and respectable” image globally. It’s the clearest indication yet that the “wolf warrior” ethos espoused in recent times by Chinese diplomats was too Trump-like for comfort—and backfiring.

The remedy here is obvious: being the reliable economic engine leaders from the East to West desire.

The Trump administration’s policies had a vaguely developing-nation thrust—favoring a weaker currency, banning companies, tariffs of the kind that might’ve worked in 1985, assaulting government institutions. They shook faith in America’s ability to anchor global finance. The last four years saw a bull market in chatter about replacing the dollar as reserve currency and the centrality of U.S. Treasury debt.

China is enjoying a burst of good press for its gross domestic product trends. Not just for the pace of GDP, but the way Xi’s team appears to be seeking a more balanced and sustainable mix of growth sources. Though some pundits were disappointed by news that industrial production rose just 6.6% in May on a two-year average basis, it essentially gets Asia’s biggest back to where it was pre-Covid-19.

China is getting there, slowly but surely. Far from disappointing, though, data suggest Xi’s party learned valuable lessons from the myriad boom/bust cycles that put China in global headlines since 2008. That was the year the “Lehman shock” devastated world markets and threatened to interrupt China’s meteoric rise.

Instead, Beijing bent economic reality to its benefit. Yet the untold trillions of dollars of stimulus that then-President Hu Jintao’s team threw at the economy caused as many long-term headaches as short-term gains. It financed an unproductive infrastructure boom—one prioritizing the quantity of growth over quality—that fueled bubbles. It generated a moral-hazard dynamic that encouraged greater risk and leverage.

Unfortunately, Xi’s government doubled down on the approach in 2015, when Shanghai stocks went into freefall. The impulse then, as in the 2008-2009 period, was to throw even more cash at the problem—treating the symptoms, not the underlying ailments.

The ways in which Team Xi restored calm—bailouts, loosening leverage and reserve requirement protocols, halting initial public offerings and suspending trading in thousands of companies—did little to build a more nimble and transparent system. The message to punters was, no worries, the Communist Party and People’s Bank of China have your backs. Always.

Yet things appear to be changing. In 2020, while the U.S., Europe and Japan went wild with new stimulus schemes, Beijing took a targeted and minimalist approach. Japan alone threw $2.2 trillion, 40% of GDP, at its cratering economy. The Federal Reserve went on an asset-buying tear.

The PBOC, by sharp contrast, resisted the urge to go the quantitative easing route. That is helping Xi in his quest to deleverage the economy. It’s a very difficult balancing act, of course. The will-they-or-won’t-they-default drama unfolding at China Huarong Asset Management demonstrates the risks of hitting the stimulus brakes too hard.

The good news is that so far China seems to be pursuing a stable and lasting 2021 recovery, not the overwhelming force of previous efforts. And that’s just what the world needs. A 6% growth rate year after year will win China more soft-power points than the GDP extremes. So will China accelerating its transition from exports to an innovation-and-services-based power.

It’s grand that President Joe Biden rapidly raised America’s vaccination game. That means the two biggest economies are recovering simultaneously, reinforcing each other.

China’s revival could have an even bigger impact. Look at how China’s growth in recent months is lifting so many boats in Asia. In May alone, Japan enjoyed a 23.6% surge in shipments to China. Mainland demand for everything from motor vehicles to semiconductor machinery to paper products is helping Japan recover from its worst downturn in decades. South Korea, too.

The best thing Xi can do to boost China’s soft power is to lean into this recovery, and provide the stability that the rest of the globe needs. Xi should let China’s GDP power do the talking for him.

I am a Tokyo-based journalist, former columnist for Barron’s and Bloomberg and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.” My journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.

Source: China’s GDP Surge Is Chance To Reboot Country’s Image On World Stage

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Critics:

The economy of China is a developing market-oriented economy that incorporates economic planning through industrial policies and strategic five-year plans. Dominated by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and mixed-ownership enterprises, the economy also consists of a large domestic private sector and openness to foreign businesses in a system described as a socialist market economy.

State-owned enterprises accounted for over 60% of China’s market capitalization in 2019 and generated 40% of China’s GDP of US$15.66 trillion in 2020, with domestic and foreign private businesses and investment accounting for the remaining 60%. As of the end of 2019, the total assets of all China’s SOEs, including those operating in the financial sector, reached US$78.08 trillion. Ninety-one (91) of these SOEs belong to the 2020 Fortune Global 500 companies.

China has the world’s second largest economy when measured by nominal GDP, and the world’s largest economy since 2014 when measured by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which is claimed by some to be a more accurate measure of an economy’s true size.It has been the second largest by nominal GDP since 2010, which rely on fluctuating market exchange rates.An official forecast states that China will become the world’s largest economy in nominal GDP by 2028.Historically, China was one of the world’s foremost economic powers for most of the two millennia from the 1st until the 19th century.

The Chinese economy has been characterized as being dominated by few, larger entities including Ant Group and Tencent. In recent years there has been attempts by the Xi Jinping Administration to enforce economic competition rules, and probes into Alibaba and Tencent have been launched by Chinese economic regulators.

The crackdown on monopolies by tech giants and internet companies follows with recent calls by the Politburo against monopolistic practices by commercial retail giants like Alibaba. Comparisons have been made with similar probes into Amazon in the United States.

See also

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