Japan Economic Overview
While still registering positive growth, the Japanese economy is facing headwinds of sluggish consumer demand and slowing exports. In 2018 Japan achieved record number of inbound tourists at 31.19 million; with tourism spending also reaching a new high of 4.5 trillion yen. However, December consumer confidence fell to a two year low and overall consumer spending remained weak. In 2018 convenience store sales nudged a 0.6% increase, while supermarket sales fell 0.2%. As a result the Bank of Japan has lowered its 2019 inflation forecast from 1.4% to 0.9% and is expected to keep stimulative monetary policy measures in place. Japan exports are also beginning to experience collateral damage from the U.S. – China trade disputes as December exports fell 3.8%. Global risks such as the E.U. Brexit and U.S. trade tensions are weighing on growth prospects for 2019.