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Transcript
Japan’s Incipient Transformation
30 September 2004
Robert A. Madsen
Center for International Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
2
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
3
The Demographic Wave
Population Distribution, 2000
Age
100+
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0
500
1,000
1,500
2,000
2,500
Thousands of People
Source: National Institute of Population and Social Security Research
4
A Paucity of Profitable Investments
„
Poor Historical Returns
„
„
„
„
Deflation of the 1990s
„
„
„
The average real rate of return on bank deposits was negative from 1960 to
1989.
Except in the bubble period, the yields generated by household portfolios of
stocks and bonds were paltry—often below zero.
Only land appreciated dependably from the 1950s through the early 1990s.
Since the bubble’s collapse the value of residential real estate has fallen by 60%.
According to the Official National Accounts, households lost some Y500 trillion in
wealth, or roughly a year’s GDP, over the course of the 1990s.
Insufficiency of Retirement Savings
„
„
Government. corporate pensions are under-funded by well over one year’s GDP.
Assuming the current level of household wealth and a life expectancy of 80 years,
a typical retiree will have to live on only 24-32% of his pre-retirement income.
5
An Over-Abundance of Capital
Gross Savings Rates
Percentage of GDP
40
30
77-84
20
85-92
93-98
10
0
Japan
Source: International Monetary Fund
EU
USA
6
Summary
„
The poor rates of return available on household investments
aggravated the tendency of middle-aged people to save a high
proportion of their income.
„
The consequent, elevated savings rate represented a chronic
insufficiency of aggregate demand.
„
This created a deflationary bias that might have driven the country
into a deep and prolonged recession — or even a depression.
„
The question, therefore, is not why Japan grew so slowly during the
1990s and early 2000s but rather how it managed to grow as rapidly
as it did . . .
7
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
8
Expedient One: Excessive Corporate Investment
P e rc e n t a g e o f G D P
Corporate Investment
25%
20%
Japan
15%
US
10%
Japan’s
Bubble
5%
US Technology
Bubble
Efficient Level
0%
95
90
85
Source: Goldman Sachs
9
Expedient Two: Fiscal Stimulus
- 8.0
- 4.0
0.0
2000
1995
1990
1985
Percentage of GDP
Government Budget Balance
-4.0
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
10
Combined Contribution to Aggregate Demand
Excess Savings Absorbed
Percentage of GD P
30%
20%
Government
Deficit
“Excess” Demand
10%
Corporate
Investment
“Sustainable” Demand
0%
85
90
Sources: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit
95
0
11
Summary
„
From the middle 1980s through the early 2000s Japan resorted to
various expedients to compensate for the weakness of adequate
demand, including:
„
„
„
„
„
A large current account surplus
Excessive corporate investment in plant and equipment
Huge government budget deficits
Unfortunately, these expedients damaged the economy by depressing
efficiency and profitability and by driving up the national debt.
Since the corporate and government sectors could not expand much
further relative to GDP, Japan must sooner or later find new sources of
growth . . .
12
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
13
Overview of Three Scenarios
„
Scenario One: Lowering the Savings Rate
„
Scenario Two: Exporting Excess Savings
„
Scenario Three: Continuation of the Status
Quo
14
Scenario One: Lowering the Savings Rate
Return to Typical Balance
This could occur through
aggressive structural
reforms, which would
transfer more wealth to
households and enable
them to curtail their
savings; or it could happen
spontaneously, through an
exogenous change in
household financial
behavior.
Percentage of GDP
40%
30%
20%
Net Trade
10%
0%
10
5
0
95
90
85
Source: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit, National Accounts
Government
Deficit
Corporate
Investment
15
Scenario Two: Exporting Excess Savings
P e rc e n t a g e o f G D P
New "Sustainable" Demand
30%
Net Trade
New
Demand
20%
Government
Deficit
Corporate
Investment
10%
0%
10
5
0
95
90
85
Source: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit, National Accounts
16
Scenario Three: Continuation of the Status Quo
Further Structural Damage
Percentage of GDP
30%
Larger
National
Debt
20%
Government
Deficit
Greater
Corporate
Inefficiency
Corporate
Investment
10%
0%
10
5
0
95
90
85
Sources: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit
17
Summary
„
„
„
Japan could continue as it has, relying on inordinate corporate
investment and government deficits to absorb its surplus capital, but
doing so would eventually depress profitability while also causing the
national debt to expand indefinitely.
A long-term solution must therefore include curtailing savings,
dramatically increasing net exports, or some combination of both.
If there are economic or diplomatic reasons why the current account
surplus cannot double or triple in size, then the only way forward is
through a sharp contraction in private-sector savings.
18
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
19
The Ideal Trajectory
Greater Consumption and Net Trade
Percentage of GDP
30%
20%
Net Trade
Government
Deficit
Corporate
Investment
10%
0%
10
5
0
95
90
85
Source: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit, National Accounts
20
The Nature of the Present Recovery
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
Source: Cabinet Office
Trade
Government
Investment
Consumption
1999
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
-3
1998
P ercent G D P
G ro w th
Contributions to Economic Growth
Note that the deflators for
investment and perhaps
consumption overstate
growth.
21
The Promise of Less Supply, More Demand
Household Surplus
10
5
0
2003
2000
1997
1994
Source: BOJ
1991
-5
1988
1985
P e rc e n t a g e o f G D P
15
22
A Muddied Picture
Private-Sector Surpluses
5
Household Savings
Corporate Savings
0
2000
1995
1990
-5
1985
Percen tag e o f G D P
10
-10
Source: BOJ
23
The Continuing Financial Imbalance
15
10
5
Household Savings
Corporate Savings
0
2003
2000
1997
Source: BOJ
1994
-10
1991
-5
1988
1985
P e rc e n t a g e o f G D P
Countervailing Government Demand
Government
Deficit
24
The Probable Trajectory
Reluctant Adjustment
Percentage of GDP
40%
Net Trade
30%
Government
Deficit
Corporate
Investment
20%
10%
0%
10
5
0
95
90
85
Sources: Goldman Sachs, Economist Intelligence Unit
25
Japan Transformed
Real GDP Growth
6
Inadequate Demand
5
Inadequate Supply
Percentage
3
2
Current
Account
Deficits?
Return of
Inflation?
4
1
0
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
2007
Official Figures
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
-2
2000
-1
Adjusted Deflators
26
Summary
„
The present recovery began as a typical Japanese upturn, stemming from
overseas—and particularly Chinese—demand.
„
„
„
„
„
One quarter of the growth derived from Improved net exports.
One half of the growth comprised greater corporate investment, much designed to
serve overseas markets.
The recent, sharp decline in household savings, however, gives reason to
hope that aggregate supply and demand may soon come back into balance.
Paradoxically, the likely failure of the government to implement aggressive
structural reforms enhances the probability of this desirable outcome; with
domestic demand stronger, and GDP rising faster, than would otherwise be
the case.
The output gap could close as early as the end of 2006, transforming Japan
from a country with chronically inadequate aggregate demand into a more
typical economy whose growth potential is limited by supply-side constraints.
27
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
28
Short-term Risk: Stalled Recovery
„
Domestic Factors
„
„
„
Investment falls
too sharply
Consumption
stagnates
„
Potential Impact
„
Several points of GDP
„
One or two points
of GDP
International
Factors
„
„
China experiences
“hard landing”
„
US growth rate
falls precipitously
„
„
Oil price surges
„
0.5-0.9% of GDP
directly, 1.0-2.0%
indirectly
Less than China
Consequences
Some
combination of
adverse
developments
could conceivably
kill the recovery
and cause a
reversion to
Japan’s recent
pattern of
inadequate
aggregate
demand and
deflation.
0.3-0.4% of GDP for
every sustained $10 per
barrel increase
29
Long-Term Risk: National Debt
Net Debt
Gross Debt
Size
7070-90% of GDP
165% of GDP
Analysis
Gross debt minus assets
Asset values overstated
Loans between central, local govts.
govts.
Pension assets
BOJ holdings of JGBs
Book values sometimes deceptive
Many assets illiquid
Political constraints on local loans, BOJ holdings
Liabilities understated
FILP generally ignored
Other accounts ignored
Disallow contingent liabilities
Bank recapitalizations
Insurance company recapitalizations
Pension shortfalls
Implications
Debt is low
Interest rates will remain low
No danger of crisis
Contingencies critically important
Bank, insurance costs are public
Pensions must be paid in part
Debt is high
Rates could rise gradually or sharply
Danger of crisis in 2010s or later
30
Fiscal Consolidation (I)
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
0
-1
-2
-3
-4
-5
-6
-7
-8
-9
1998
Percentage of GDP
Budget Deficit Trajectory
Projections
Basic Scenario
Reform Scenario
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
31
Fiscal Consolidation (II)
National Debt Trajectory
Percentage of GDP
225
200
175
150
125
Projections
100
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
Basic Scenario
Reform Scenario
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
32
Summary
„
Japan could still stumble back into deflationary circumstances.
„
„
„
„
„
„
A combination of adverse international developments
Sudden, sharp decrease in corporate investment
Premature fiscal tightening like that of 1997
Regression is also possible in the medium term if corporate investment
continues at such a high level that it creates vast overcapacity like that of the
1990s while also depressing the returns available to workers and investors.
If those short- and medium-term obstacles are safely overcome, the biggest
long-term challenge is redressing the government’s finances before they
become vulnerable to possible spikes in interest rates.
Ultimately this is a political question: will the government avoid premature
tax increases for a few years but then brave voters’ wrath by hiking them
sharply enough to eliminate the budget deficit relatively rapidly?
33
Outline
1)
The Fundamental Problem of Excess Savings
2)
The Consequent Structural Distortions
3)
Scenarios for Japan’s Future Economic Evolution
4)
Reasons for Cautious Optimism
5)
Remaining Risks
Conclusion
34
Conclusion
„
Japan’s slump may well be over.
„
„
„
The country may soon look very different than in the recent past.
„
„
„
„
„
„
After the output gap closes the country’s trend growth rate will fall to 1.0-1.5% per annum.
Elevating the sustainable rate above that level will require big cuts in capital investment and
probably more immigration.
The focus of political debate will ultimately shift to the national debt.
„
„
„
Inflation begins in perhaps early 2007.
Inflation ameliorates many of the stresses in the banking system, lightens the burden of
household and corporate debt.
The current account very slowly moves from surplus towards deficit.
By the early 2010s foreigners are providing more of the capital necessary to fund the debt.
The challenge would no longer be bolstering demand but rather overcoming the more
usual supply-side constraints.
„
„
External demand brings positive impetus in the short term.
Higher consumption and lower savings, though, are far more important.
Due to the confidence problem, fiscal retrenchment makes no sense until at least 2007.
Greater healthcare and pension costs then render spending cuts impractical, so the key is big
tax increases—perhaps raising annual government revenues by 6-9% of GDP by 2012 or 2015.
Ultimately both of the big tasks—moderately faster growth and fiscal retrenchment—
depend critically on the quality of Japan’s elected leadership.
35
36