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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2013)*

  • 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 meeting of general managers of the Bank's branches held today. The English translation is based on the Japanese original.

April 15, 2013
Bank of Japan

Compared with the last assessment in January 2013, all regions reported upward revisions to their economic assessments from the previous report.  The background to these reports included the fact that domestic demand had been resilient, supported in part by improvement in household and business sentiment and that overseas economies had gradually been heading toward a pick-up.

Five regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Tokai, and Chugoku) noted that the economy had been picking up moderately or had begun to recover.  Four regions (Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported that the economy as a whole had been more or less unchanged, but there had been some reports that the economy had shown some signs of picking up.

Table : Regional Economic Report
Region Assessment in January 2013 Changes
from the
previous
assessment1
Assessment in April 2013
Hokkaido The economy has been relatively weak in some aspects, although it has continued to pick up. upper right The economy has continued to pick up.
Tohoku The recovery in economic activity has come to a pause. upper right The economy has begun to recover with production having stopped declining.
Hokuriku The economy has been weakening somewhat. upper right The economy has shown some signs of picking up.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy has been weakening somewhat. upper right The economy has stopped weakening.
Tokai The economy has been relatively weak as a whole. upper right The economy has been picking up moderately.
Kinki The economy has been relatively weak. upper right The economy has remained relatively weak, but signs of picking up have gradually become widespread.
Chugoku The economy has been weakening somewhat. upper right The economy has started to pick up as a whole, albeit with differences depending on the industry and size of firms.
Shikoku The pick-up in economic activity has come to a pause, and the economy has shown signs of weakness. upper right The economy has been resilient, although it has shown some signs of weakness.
Kyushu-Okinawa The economy has continued to be more or less unchanged as a whole. upper right The economy has continued to be more or less unchanged as a whole, but it has shown some signs of picking up, mainly in domestic demand-oriented sectors.
  1. With regard to the changes from the previous assessment, arrows pointing to the upper right or lower right indicate changes in the pace of improvement or deterioration compared with the previous assessments, respectively.  For example, an acceleration in the pace of improvement or deceleration in the pace of deterioration is indicated with an arrow pointing to the upper right.  A horizontal arrow pointing to the right indicates that the pace of improvement or deterioration in economic conditions has remained unchanged compared with the previous assessments.

As for public investment, the Tohoku region reported that it was increasing significantly, and six regions (Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) noted that it was increasing or picking up.  The Hokkaido and Tokai regions reported that it had been solid or had generally been unchanged.

Five regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Tokai) reported that business fixed investment was increasing or picking up, and four regions (Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) noted that it had been solid or more or less unchanged.  Some of these regions, however, reported signs of weakness in manufacturing.  Meanwhile, many regions reported that business sentiment was improving, particularly in nonmanufacturing.

As for private consumption, the Tokai and Kyushu-Okinawa regions reported that it had shown signs of picking up, assisted by the improvement in consumer sentiment.  Five regions (Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Kinki, Chugoku, and Shikoku) reported that it had been resilient or more or less unchanged.  Meanwhile, the Hokuriku region reported that private consumption had begun to stop declining, and the Hokkaido region noted that it had been weakening somewhat, due in part to elevated gasoline and kerosene prices as well as to inclement weather.

As for sales at large retail stores, many regions reported that sales at department stores had shown signs of picking up or had been solid, mainly due to firm sales of high-end goods.  On the other hand, most regions noted that sales at supermarkets had continued to be relatively weak.

Many regions reported that automobile sales had continued to be below the previous year's level, while some regions noted that sales of new models had continued to be favorable or automobile sales had begun to pick up.

Many regions reported that sales of household electrical appliances had been sluggish or were below the previous year's level: sales of flat-panel televisions had been sluggish, while those of smartphones and energy-efficient white goods were firm.

Many regions reported that travel-related demand was picking up or had been firm.

As for housing investment, the Tohoku region reported that it was increasing, and the Kinki region noted that it was increasing moderately.  Seven regions (Hokkaido, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported that it was picking up or had begun to pick up.

As for production, assisted partly by the fact that domestic demand had been resilient and that overseas economies had gradually been heading toward a pick-up, the Hokuriku region reported that it was increasing as a whole, three regions (Hokkaido, Tokai, and Chugoku) reported that it was picking up or had begun to pick up, and three other regions (Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Kinki) noted that it had stopped decreasing.  On the other hand, the Shikoku region noted that production had continued to be somewhat weak and the Kyushu-Okinawa region reported that it had remained depressed as a whole.

By industry, five regions (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Chugoku) reported that production in transportation equipment was picking up, and four regions (Hokkaido, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Chugoku) noted that production in iron and steel had begun to pick up.  As for production in chemicals, some regions reported that it had been at a relatively high level, particularly in medicinal pharmaceutical products.  Assisted mainly by a rise in construction-related demand, the Hokuriku and Shikoku regions noted that production inmetal products had been on a moderate increasing trend, while the Hokkaido region reported production increases in ceramics, stone and clay.  On the other hand, many regions noted that production in electronic parts and devices had continued to be relatively weak due to sluggish demand mainly for IT-related goods.  As for production in general machinery, although machinery orders had shown some signs of picking up, some regions reported that production had continued to be relatively weak.

As for the employment and income situation, many regions reported that it seemed to have started to head for improvement again, notably in supply and demand conditions in the labor market, despite the severity.

Many regions reported that the employment situation had shown signs of improvement or that supply and demand conditions in the labor market were starting to improve.  As for household income, six regions (Hokkaido, Hokuriku, Tokai, Kinki, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa) reported that it had generally been at the previous year's level or had been more or less unchanged.  Meanwhile, the Kanto-Koshinetsu and Chugoku regions reported that household income had continued to be relatively weak, while the Tohoku region noted that it had been above the previous year's level.

Table :
Region Public investment Business fixed
investment
Private
consumption
Housing
investment
Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Has been solid Increasing moderately Has been weakening somewhat, due in part to elevated gasoline and kerosene prices as well as to inclement weather, although consumer sentiment has been on an improving trend mainly reflecting high stock prices Picking up, particularly in the construction of houses for rent Picking up moderately, due to a recovery in demand both at home and abroad The labor market has been on an improving trend, despite the severity in supply and demand conditions compared to other regions. Household income has generally been at the previous year's level.
Tohoku Increasing significantly, primarily in construction orders related to the restoration following the earthquake disaster Increasing Has been resilient Increasing, partly due to reconstruction demand stemming from the disaster Has stopped decreasing The employment and household income situation is improving
Hokuriku Has maintained an increasing trend, particularly in construction orders for facilities related to the Hokuriku bullet train line and those related to the strengthening of elementary and junior high school buildings against earthquakes, despite having fallen back from the increase in large-scale construction orders during the previous fiscal year Picking up, particularly in manufacturing Has begun to stop declining Picking up Increasing as a whole, as the effects of the deceleration in overseas economies wane The pick-up in the employment situation has come to a pause. The pick-up in household income has come to a pause.
Kanto-Koshinetsu Has been on an increasing trend Has maintained an increasing trend as a whole, particularly in nonmanufacturing, despite signs of weakness in manufacturing Has been resilient Picking up steadily Has stopped decreasing The employment and household income situation has been more or less unchanged
Tokai Has generally been unchanged Increasing steadily Has shown signs of picking up Has begun to pick up Picking up The employment and household income situation has begun to show signs of improvement
Kinki Increasing Has been firm in nonmanufacturing but relatively weak in manufacturing; consequently, the pace of the pick-up has been moderate Has been resilient, assisted by the improvement in consumer sentiment Increasing moderately Seems to have stopped decreasing Supply and demand conditions in the labor market are starting to improve. With fluctuations smoothed out, household income has generally remained more or less unchanged, despite the weakness in wages.
Chugoku Picking up Has been more or less unchanged as a whole Has been more or less unchanged Has continued to pick up Has begun to pick up The employment situation has shown signs of picking up, notably in non-regular employment, and the active job openings-to-applicant ratio has improved recently. Household income continues to be weak.
Shikoku Has been on a pick-up trend Has been solid, excluding the effects of some weakness at some large firms Has continued to be more or less unchanged as a whole, although it has shown some signs of picking up Picking up Has continued to be somewhat weak Supply and demand conditions in the labor market seem to have started to head for improvement again
Kyushu-Okinawa Has continued to increase Has been solid in nonmanufacturing Has been increasingly resilient as a whole, with the steady flow of tourists to the region, in addition to increased sales of high-end goods, reflecting the improvement in consumer sentiment Picking up Has remained depressed as a whole The employment and household income situation has remained severe, but supply and demand conditions in the labor market have shown signs of improvement, particularly in nonmanufacturing

Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region

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

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