Abe to take with one hand and give back with the other

|By:, SA News Editor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reportedly announce tomorrow that he will go ahead with a planned rise in sales tax to 8% from 5%, but he will also unveil a stimulus package designed to cushion the impact of the increased levy.

While the VAT increase is seen raising ¥7.5T for the Treasury, it will spend ¥5-7T on the stimulus measures. Unsurprisingly, there's plenty of noise about the apparent paradox of it all.

The package will include tax breaks for companies but not a cut in income tax, as well as investment in public works and cash handouts to those on low incomes.

Meanwhile, Japan's real interest rates seem to have dropped below zero, with inflation rising to 0.8% in August and the yield on 10-year bonds dropping to 0.69%. The hope is that bond-holders will look for returns by moving out of bonds and into assets such as stocks, loans, property or overseas assets, a trend that will eventually feed into higher prices and further help the battle against deflation.

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