Weak yen and oil rally to cost Japanese families $470 this year

Offshoring has diminished the benefit of currency's decline for manufacturers

Nikkei -- Apr 29
The yen's rapid decline coupled with soaring crude oil prices are expected to raise the expenses of the average Japanese household by 60,000 yen ($468) this year, private-sector estimates show.

Japan's currency crossed the 130 yen milestone against the U.S. dollar on Thursday for the first time in two decades. The Bank of Japan's announcement that it is sticking with its ultraloose monetary policy triggered the currency's sell-off.

The benchmark 10-year JGB yield decreased temporarily by 2.5 basis points to touch 0.215%, widening the spread against U.S. yields.

The yen has depreciated by roughly 16 against the greenback this year. A widening Japanese trade deficit caused by soaring commodity prices has accelerated the currency's decline.

If the yen remains at 130 to the dollar, the financial burden will rise by 17,000 yen from last year for households with an annual income between 9 million yen and 10 million yen, according to estimates by Saisuke Sakai, senior economist at Mizuho Research and Technologies.

The higher cost of gasoline and other energy essentials translates to an additional financial burden of 60,000 yen on average for all households, Sakai said. For lower-income households, that is equivalent to more than 2% of its household budget, almost rivaling the 3% hit caused by the consumption tax hike in 2014. ...continue reading