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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 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.

July 6, 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. Housing investment, however, was recently sluggish in many regions. 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 April 2007, at the time of the last branch managers' meeting, six out of nine regions maintained their previous assessment. Tohoku revised its assessment slightly upward reflecting the firmness in private consumption. On the other hand, Tokai and Hokuriku revised their assessments slightly downward, with Tokai indicating a slowdown of production and business fixed investment partly due to the shortage in labor and Hokuriku pointing out sluggishness in private consumption.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 2007)
Region Assessment in July 2007 Revision of
assessment
from the
previous
meeting
Assessment in April 2007
Hokkaido The economy is picking up gradually. Unchanged. The economy is picking up gradually.
Tohoku The economy continues to recover steadily, albeit gradually. Slightly upward. The economy continues to recover gradually.
Hokuriku The economy is recovering gradually. Slightly downward. The economy continues to recover.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy is expanding gradually. Unchanged. The economy is expanding gradually.
Tokai The economy is expanding gradually. Slightly downward. 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."

There were reports that sales at large retail stores, mainly of food, accessories, and high-end goods, were increasing, while sales of apparel seemed to be sluggish. All regions reported that sales of household electrical appliances continued to be favorable, particularly for digital appliances, such as flat-panel televisions, and for high-value-added white goods. Sales of passenger cars continued to be weak in all regions. Meanwhile, travel expenses remained solid on the whole, although there were regional differences.

Compared with the previous assessment of private consumption, Tohoku revised its assessment slightly upward, while Hokuriku revised its assessment slightly downward.

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, Hokkaido revised its assessment slightly upward.

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

By industry, in processing industries, many regions reported high levels of production of electronic parts and devices for digital appliances, game consoles, and automobiles, while production of them for mobile phones appeared to be weak. Production of general machinery, mainly semiconductor manufacturing equipment and machine tools, remained on an increasing trend. Production of transportation equipment also remained at a high level, particularly for exports. 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; and textiles also showed weakness in production.

Compared with the previous assessment of production, Tohoku revised its assessment slightly upward.

As for the employment and income situation, most regions reported that the employment situation continued 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. Chugoku, however, reported that household income was "more or less around the previous year's level," and Hokkaido reported that it 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. As for income, however, Chugoku revised its assessment slightly downward.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 2007)
Region Private consumption Business fixed investment Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Continues to be flat. Increasing. Picking up gradually. The employment situation remains flat.
Household income is sluggish.
Tohoku Steady. Increasing, mainly in manufacturing. Continues to increase. The employment situation continues to be on an improving trend.
Household income continues to improve gradually as a whole.
Hokuriku Continues to be picking up, although there seems to be some sluggishness. Continues to increase, exceeding the high level of fiscal 2006 by about 10 percent, mainly in manufacturing. Continues to increase. The employment situation continues to follow an improving trend.
Household income is improving, albeit 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. Solid. Increasing. The ratio of job offers to applicants continues to be at a relatively high level.
Household income is more or less around the previous year's level.
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. Increasing. On a gradual increasing trend. The employment situation is improving gradually.
Household income is improving gradually as a 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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