Listed companies recorded growth in sales and earnings in April-June period.
Roughly 90% of listed Japanese companies closing their fiscal year in March released April-June (1Q) results by last Friday, and sales of non-financial companies grew 6% from the same period of the previous year and resulted in increased earnings, according to Nikkei. The manufacturing sector drove the overall growth trend with a 9% rise in sales: Electric machinery manufacturers, such as Hitachi and Panasonic performed well thanks to growth in information systems business or positive effect of streamlining loss-making businesses. Machinery manufacturers took advantage of rising capital spending worldwide. Full-year pretax result of listed companies is projected to grow 1% while some uncertain factors exist including international affairs.
Half-year consolidated results of four beer companies released.
Four Japanese major beer companies, i.e. Suntory, Kirin, Asahi and Sapporo, released group results for 6 months to June 2014, and Suntory exceeded three brewers for the first time since 2009, when a holding company system was applied. Group sales of Suntory stood at JPY 1,108.9 billion (+18% from the same period of the previous year) and operating profit at JPY 64.4 billion (+32%). The record-high figures reflect its acquisition of US distiller Beam Inc. in May and the popularity of its Kinmugi low-priced beer-like drink products. Kirin, which was the top seller in 2013 saw a 3.6% sales fall to 1,056.2 billion, due to sluggish sales to corporate customers, such as restaurants. Asahi reported JPY 811.2 billion sales (+3.9%), and Sapporo JPY 239.8 billion (+3.7%).
Five automobile manufacturers made record-high production during 6 months to June 2014.
Eight Japanese automobile manufacturers produced total 13,253k cars in the global market during 6 months to June 2014 (+6.2% compared to the same period of the previous year), and five out of eight carmakers, i.e. Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, Daihatsu and Fuji Heavy, made record-high production, reflecting favorable overseas car sales, with a minimum effect of consumption tax rise in April 2014 from 5% to 8% in the domestic market. For Honda, Daihatsu and Fuji Heavy, favorable sales of new cars launched in autumun 2013 made strong contribution to the growth in global production. As for Toyota, it made the second highest proudction for itself (4,500k cars, 2nd highest after 2012).
Land prices are bottoming out.
The statistics released by Japan’s National Tax Agency on July 1st showed that land prices are down for a sixth consecutive year, while the decline is narrowing. Land prices at 340k locations nationwide showed an average 0.7% drop from a year earlier, while the value rose in 8 prefectures; +1.8% in Tokyo, +0.8% in Kanagawa, +0.3% in Osaka, +0.1% in Saitama and +0.1% in Chiba for the first time since 2008, when the global financial crisis had an impact on all the industries. Strong demand for construction for the Olympic year of 2020 and redevelopment projects in Tokyo Metropolitan Area appear to be major factors. The rise in Aichi was +1.2%, for the second year of growth (and +2.4% in Miyagi and +0.8% in Fukushima, reflecting a recovery from the 2011 Earthquake.)
Medical institutions to get ready to receive non-Japanese patients.
The ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will designate some 30 hospitals as hub medical institutions capable of handling multiple languages by the Olympic year of 2020 to reduce the number of foreigners hesitating to seek medical treatment at hospitals in Japan and flying to Singapore and other neighboring countries to visit hospitals there. Hub medical institutions will have interpreters speaking English, Chinese, Spanish, etc. for smooth communication, and will have a ”coordinator” to support payment and document filling, and also have a responsibility for dispatching interpreters upon requests from other medical institutions. The Ministry set aside JPY 200 million for the project in the budget of this fiscal year.