Two months after Japan's first consumption tax hike in 17 years, some data indicate the economy is stalling as prices climb and a weaker yen makes imports more expensive.
The yen's depreciation from the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary easing will continue to drive up the cost of imports — especially energy and food — at a time when wages overall are falling. This means the BOJ's inflation target is likely to trigger "bad inflation" — a toxic combination of declining demand and rising prices, analysts warn.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to revive Japan's deflation-mired economy may end in failure if the inflation the BOJ is stoking isn't accompanied by improvement in corporate earnings and wages. If wages don't keep up, both companies and consumers will be reluctant to spend, dampening domestic demand further, they warn.