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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 2008)*

  • 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 7, 2008
Bank of Japan

According to reports from each of the nine regions in Japan, growth of the economy as a whole continued slowing recently, mainly due to the effects of high energy and materials prices, although there were some regional differences. 

Exports continued to increase, although the pace of increase had somewhat slowed recently.  Corporate profits decreased recently, mainly due to the deterioration in the terms of trade, and business sentiment remained cautious.  In this situation, the pace of increase in business fixed investment became slower in many regions.  As for private consumption, its sluggishness became increasingly apparent, although it remained generally firm in a situation where household income continued rising moderately.  Meanwhile, housing investment recovered moderately.  Under these circumstances, production was more or less flat.

Assessments showed that regional differences remained: Tokai described its economic activity as continuing to be at a high level, albeit at a slower pace, while Hokkaido described it as sluggish.

Compared with the assessment in April 2008, at the time of the last branch managers' meeting, eight out of nine regions revised their assessments slightly downward mainly due to some sluggishness in private consumption.  Meanwhile, Tohoku maintained its previous assessment. 

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 2008)
Region Assessment in July 2008 Revision of assessment from the previous meeting Assessment in April 2008
Hokkaido Economic activity is sluggish. Slightly downward. Economic activity continues to be somewhat sluggish.
Tohoku The economy seems to have stopped recovering. Unchanged. The economy seems to have stopped recovering.
Hokuriku The economy is slowing at a somewhat faster pace. Slightly downward. The economy is slowing.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy is slowing. Slightly downward. The economy is slowing slightly.
Tokai The economy continues to be at a high level, although the slowdown in the pace of growth has become apparent recently. Slightly downward. The economy is expanding gradually, although the pace of growth has become slower recently.
Kinki The economy is slowing. Slightly downward. The economy is expanding gradually, although the pace of growth in some economic activity seems to be slowing.
Chugoku The economy continues to recover gradually as a whole, but the pace of recovery has become slower recently. Slightly downward. The economy continues to recover as a whole, although there seems to be some weakness.
Shikoku Economic activity is flat. Slightly downward. Economic recovery has become somewhat sluggish.
Kyushu-Okinawa The sluggishness of the economy is becoming increasingly apparent. Slightly downward. The economy seems to have stopped recovering.

Private consumption was firm in the Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Kyushu-Okinawa regions, while many other regions reported that it was sluggish.

There were reports that at large retail stores sales of apparel, general merchandise, and accessories seemed to be sluggish, while sales of food were solid.  Sales of household electrical appliances remained solid, particularly for digital appliances, such as flat-panel televisions.  Sales of passenger cars were flat, after picking up assisted partly by the introduction of new models.  Meanwhile, travel expenses were somewhat sluggish, mainly in overseas travel, although there were regional differences. 

Compared with the previous assessment of private consumption, all regions revised their assessments slightly downward.  

A number of regions reported that business fixed investment increased at a slower pace or that it was "flat, albeit at a high level," reflecting the decrease in corporate profits caused mainly by the deterioration in the terms of trade.

Compared with the previous assessment of business fixed investment, Chugoku revised its assessment downward, and Kinki and Shikoku revised their assessments slightly downward. 

Production was flat in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Kyushu-Okinawa regions.  Meanwhile, Hokuriku, Tokai, and Kinki reported that the pace of increase had become moderate or that production had become somewhat sluggish recently, whereas Chugoku and Shikoku reported that it continued to be at a high level in general or was "increasing gradually."  

By industry, in processing industries, although there were regional differences, production of electronic parts and devices and transportation equipment had recently become somewhat weak.  Production of general machinery and foods also seemed to be sluggish.  In materials industries, production of iron and steel, and paper and pulp remained solid, while materials used for construction -- namely, cement, ceramics and glass, as well as lumber and wood products -- and textiles showed sluggishness. 

Compared with the previous assessment of production, Hokkaido, Hokuriku, Tokai, Kinki, and Chugoku revised their assessments slightly downward. 

As for employment, regional differences remained.  Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa reported that it was somewhat sluggish, had stopped recovering, or was flat.  On the other hand, Tokai and Kinki reported that the number of employees was increasing gradually, although the ratio of job offers to applicants had somewhat declined recently, and Chugoku reported that "the ratio of job offers to applicants continues to be at a relatively high level."

For household income, Kanto-Koshinetsu and Tokai reported that it was increasing gradually or "improving."  Hokkaido and Tohoku reported that it showed some signs of recovery or continued to improve gradually, despite restraints on wage increases.  Meanwhile, Hokuriku, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa reported that it was around the previous year's level or that it remained flat. 

Compared with the previous assessment of employment, Hokkaido, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa revised their assessments slightly downward.  As for household income, Tohoku, Kinki, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa revised their assessments slightly downward, while Hokkaido revised its assessment slightly upward. 

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (July 2008)
Region Private
consumption
Business fixed
investment
Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Sluggish. Solid. More or less flat. The employment situation is somewhat sluggish.
Household income shows some signs of recovery, although it remains weak as a whole.
Tohoku There seems to be some sluggishness. Maintaining a relatively high level. More or less flat. The employment situation was somewhat sluggish.
Household income continues to improve gradually, but restraints on wage increases have recently become widespread.
Hokuriku Weakening. Seems to have recently come to a pause, partly due to its high level so far. The pace of increase has become moderate. The improvement in the employment situation has become modest.
Household income is around the previous year's level.
Kanto-Koshinetsu Firm. Flat, albeit at a high level. Flat. The improvement in the employment situation seems to have come to a pause.
Household income continues to increase gradually.
Tokai There seems to be some sluggishness, although it remains firm. Remains at a high level, although the pace of increase has become slower. Has been declining recently. The number of full-time employees is increasing. The ratio of job offers to applicants is at a high level, although it has somewhat declined recently.
Household income is improving.
Kinki Somewhat sluggish. Continues to increase, although the pace of increase has become slower. Remains at a high level, although there seems to have been some sluggishness recently. The number of employees is increasing gradually, although the ratio of job offers to applicants has somewhat declined recently.
Household income remains flat.
Chugoku The sluggishness has recently become somewhat apparent as a whole, although there also seems to be some firmness. The pace of increase has become slower. Continues to be at a high level in general, although there seems to be some sluggishness. The ratio of job offers to applicants continues to be at a relatively high level.
Household income remains more or less flat.
Shikoku Somewhat sluggish. Declining. Increasing gradually. The employment situation seems to have stopped recovering recently.
Household income remains more or less flat.
Kyushu-Okinawa Firm in general. Increasing. Flat. The employment situation remains flat.
Household income remains flat.

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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