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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2007)*

  • This report summarizes the reports from all regional research divisions, mainly at the Bank's branches in Japan, and is based on data and other information gathered for the Bank of Japan's branch managers' meeting held today. The English translation is based on the Japanese original.

April 19, 2007
Bank of Japan

According to reports from each of the nine regions in Japan, the economy as a whole expanded moderately as all regions remained on an expansion or recovery trend, although there were regional differences.

Specifically, the corporate sector remained buoyant as exports continued to increase, business fixed investment continued to be on an increasing trend in all regions, and business sentiment remained favorable in many regions. In the household sector, private consumption was steady, with employment and household income on an increasing trend, although the unfavorable weather and the earthquake in Hokuriku appeared to have had some adverse effects on private consumption. Housing investment was at a relatively high level on the whole, albeit with some regional differences. Against the background of the increase in domestic and external demand, production was on an increasing trend.

Assessments showed that regional differences remained: Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Kinki described their economic activity as expanding, while the other regions described it as being on a recovery trend.

Compared with the assessment in January 2007, at the time of the last branch managers' meeting, all regions maintained their assessments as either expanding or on a recovery trend.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2007)
Region Assessment in April 2007 Revision of
assessment
from the
previous
meeting
Assessment in January 2007
Hokkaido The economy is picking up gradually. Unchanged. The economy is picking up gradually.
Tohoku The economy continues to recover gradually. Unchanged. The economy continues to recover gradually.
Hokuriku The economy continues to recover. Unchanged. The economy is recovering steadily.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy is expanding gradually. Unchanged. The economy is expanding gradually.
Tokai The economy is expanding. Unchanged. The economy is expanding.
Kinki The economy continues to expand. Unchanged. The economy continues to expand.
Chugoku The economy continues to recover as a whole. Unchanged. The economy continues to recover as a whole.
Shikoku The economy continues to pick up gradually. Unchanged. The economy continues to pick up gradually.
Kyushu-Okinawa The economy continues to recover. Unchanged. The economy continues to recover.

Private consumption was gradually increasing or recovering in the Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Kinki regions. In other regions, it was "steady," "picking up," or "flat."

Looking at major indicators of consumption, there were reports that sales at large retail stores were increasing mainly for food and beverages, and accessories, while some regions reported sluggish sales of spring apparel due to the unfavorable weather and a drop in sales caused by the earthquake in Hokuriku. Most regions reported that sales of household electrical appliances continued to be favorable, particularly for digital household appliances and high-value-added white goods. Sales of passenger cars remained weak in all regions. With regard to tourism, some regions reported that the number of visitors exceeded that of last year, partly due to various festivals and promotions in those regions, and travel expenses remained solid.

Compared with the previous assessment of private consumption, all regions kept their assessments unchanged.

Business fixed investment continued to be on an increasing trend in all regions reflecting high corporate profits, driven mainly by manufacturers' investments to expand their production capacity.

Compared with the previous assessment of business fixed investment, all regions kept their assessments unchanged.

Most regions reported that production was "increasing." Hokkaido and Shikoku reported that production was "picking up gradually" and "recovering gradually," respectively.

By industry, in processing industries, trends in production of electronic parts and devices varied noticeably according to their types: while there appeared to be a decline in orders for and adjustment in production of parts and devices for mobile phones and personal computers, other reports indicated favorable production of those for digital household appliances, game consoles, and automobiles. Moreover, production of general machinery remained on an increasing trend, and that of transportation equipment also remained at a high level, although the pace of growth recently decelerated temporarily. Trends in materials industries still varied: iron and steel continued to be at a high level of production in many regions, in response to strong demand for automobiles and ships; chemicals, and paper and pulp maintained a high level of production; cement, ceramics and glass, however, maintained a low level of production mainly due to decreasing public investment.

Compared with the previous assessment of production, all regions kept their assessments unchanged.

As for the employment and income situation, most regions reported that the employment situation continues to improve. However, there were still substantial regional differences in the assessments of labor market conditions, ranging from "the ratio of job offers to applicants is at a high level" in Tokai to an assessment that "the employment situation remains flat" in Hokkaido.

Most regions reported that household income was either gradually increasing or improving. Tohoku reported that "the rate of decline compared to the year before is slowing," while Hokkaido reported that household income was "sluggish" partly due to the fact that firms continued to restrain labor costs.

As for the employment situation, all regions kept their assessments unchanged. However, Hokkaido revised its assessment for the income situation slightly downward.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2007)
Region Private consumption Business fixed investment Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Continues to be flat. Steady. Picking up gradually. The employment situation remains flat.
Household income is sluggish.
Tohoku Generally steady, albeit with some sluggishness. Continues to be at a high level, mainly in manufacturing. Increasing. The employment situation is on a recovery trend.
Household income is sluggish, although the rate of decline compared to the year before is slowing.
Hokuriku Continues to be picking up as a whole. Continues to increase, exceeding the high level of FY 2005, mainly in manufacturing. Continues to increase. The employment situation continues to improve.
Household income is increasing gradually.
Kanto-Koshinetsu On a gradual increasing trend. Increasing steadily. On an increasing trend. The employment situation continues to improve.
Household income continues to increase gradually.
Tokai On a gradual recovery trend. Continues to increase. On an increasing trend as a whole. The ratio of job offers to applicants is at a high level, and the number of full-time employees is increasing.
Household income is improving.
Kinki Increasing gradually as a whole. Increasing. On an increasing trend. The employment situation continues to improve.
Household income is increasing gradually.
Chugoku Generally steady. Increasing. On an increasing trend. The ratio of job offers to applicants continues to be at a relatively high level, although it has dropped slightly.
Household income is on a gradual increasing trend, albeit with some fluctuations.
Shikoku Steady as a whole. Increasing, mainly in manufacturing. Recovering gradually. The employment situation continues to improve gradually.
Household income is gradually recovering on the whole.
Kyushu-Okinawa Steady. At a high level. On a gradual increasing trend. The employment situation is improving gradually.
Household income is on a gradual increasing trend.

Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region

Table : Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region
Region Prefectures
(a) Hokkaido Hokkaido
(b) Tohoku Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima
(c) Hokuriku Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui
(d) Kanto-Koshinetsu Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi, and Nagano
(e) Tokai Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Mie
(f) Kinki Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama
(g) Chugoku Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi
(h) Shikoku Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kochi
(i) Kyushu-Okinawa Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa

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