The Perils of Overcapacity in Japan

Includes: EWJ, JPP
by: Steven Towns

“Recession ends in Japan,” and headlines to that effect portray a different picture than the real one on the streets. In fact, despite the headline rebound in GDP, propping open the hood shows that the outlook for Japan is a return to the status quo, little to nil export-driven growth at best, and raises the likelihood of further deterioration.

Sure, the Nikkei and other benchmarks have had a nice run along with the pretty much global equities rally. However, the GDP was baked in, thus the opportune profit-taking, and meanwhile, serious issues persist, such as a lack of domestic demand and industrial over-capacity. Even without further government stimuli and/or a return to conspicuous lending and consumption in the West, it is not clear there is any impetus for either the Japanese government or the nation’s biggest companies to take steps in fostering a more balanced economy.

Disclosure: At the time of publishing, the author did not have open long or short positions on any Japanese benchmark index/fund.