Average commercial land prices stop falling for the 1st time in 7 years.
Japan’s commercial land prices remained unchanged during the 12 months to January 1st, 2015, following a 0.5% fall in the year before, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. Average residential land prices edged down 0.4% in the period, from a 0.6% decline a year earlier. Actually, 70% of local areas still saw a decline in land prices showing a big economic gap between major and local cities. Commercial land prices rebounded in Kanazawa and Toyama in the Hokuriku region, where new bullet train just started to directly link the region with Tokyo.
Agricultural, fishery and food exports hit record high in 2014.
The exports of agricultural, fishery and food products increased by 11.1% to 611.7 billion yen and hit a record high in 2014, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. There was a downturn in fishery product exports for a period of time with the impact of the Earthquake in March 2011, while exports picked up again last year thanks to increasing popularity of Japanese foods, resulting in a growing demand for Japanese food products overseas. The exports of agricultural products only grew by 13% to 357.0 billion yen, and that of beef only by 41% to 8.2 billion yen.
Toyota maintains top position in 2014, but sees sales falling in 2015.
Toyota Motor stayed at the top in global vehicle sales in 2014 for the third straight year. The company sold 10.231 million vehicles, including Daihatsu and Hino (+2.5% YoY), surpassing Volkswagen and General Motors. But it expects to sell fewer cars and trucks, forecasting sales will fall 0.8% YoY to 10.15 million vehicles, due to a sales fall in Japan (-9% projected) and slowing glowth in China and Asian countires. Toyota expects overseas sales to grow 2% this year to more than 8 million vehicles from 7.9 million vehicles last year.
US dollar tops 119 yen for 1st time since August 2007.
The US dollar briefly topped 119 yen for the first time since August 2007 in Tokyo since a fall in oil prices pressured resource-rich countries’ currencies and encouraged money flows to the US dollar. The dollar seems to have chosen as receptacle to receive the money flow from falling resource-rich currencies as the yen and the euro were deamed unsuitable to play the role given the possibilities of further monetary easing.
Five of eight major Japanese automakers post record-high 1st-half net profits.
Five out of eight major Japanese automakers; Toyota, Fuji Heavy, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Suzuki posted record-high group net profit for the first half of fiscal year 2014, as a slump in domestic sales after the April consumption tax hike was offset by robust overseas sales under the weak yen, especially in their key market of North America. Sales of Toyota rose 3.3% to JPY 12.95 trillion, operating profit 7.7% to JPY 1.35 trillion, and net profit 12.6% to JPY 1.13 trillion, the biggest on a first-half basis. Depreciation of the yen against other major currencies pushed up Toyota’s operating profit by JPY 70 billion. For full fiscal year earnings, Toyota, Nissan Mazda and Fuji Heavy revised their forecast figures upwards, while Honda Mitsubishi and Daihatsu cut their estimates due to weak domestic sales.