Mon, Nov 17, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Abe wants growth data before deciding on sales tax increase

Reuters, BRISBANE, Australia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the meeting of 20 major economies that he was waiting for third quarter growth data before deciding whether to go ahead with a second planned hike in the consumption tax, an official said yesterday.

“Mr Abe talked about the three arrows and also his policy of managing the two issues: getting the Japanese economy out of deflation and fiscal soundness. That perspective is very relevant to his coming decision on consumption tax,” Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs press secretary Kuni Sato said. “He explained about how he will decide on this issue, that is to see figures for the third quarter that would come tomorrow.”

Data due out today is expected to show Japan’s economy expanded an annualized 2.1 percent in July-September, a Reuters poll showed.

Such an outcome should be enough to allow the government to hike the sales tax next year, but the decision remains a close call. The Bank of Japan’s expanded stimulus should help to ease the hit on consumption.

Asked if any G20 members raised concerns about the weak yen, Kenko Sone, the deputy Cabinet secretary for public affairs and director of global communications from the Prime Minister’s Office, said none had done so.

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