Ben McLannahan

Ben McLannahan covers markets and economics for the FT from Tokyo, and before that he wrote Lex notes from London and Hong Kong. He studied English at Cambridge University and joined the FT in 2007, after stints at the Economist Group and Institutional Investor.

Ben McLannahan

“Inflation expectations appear to be rising on the whole.”

Check out the last 11 policy statements from the Bank of Japan: you’ll find the same line, an upgrade from a milder assertion about “some indicators” last July.

But according to the second round of the BoJ’s survey of companies’ expectations for price rises – the grand-sounding “inflation outlook of enterprises”, published on Wednesday – expectations are not rising. If anything, they’re falling. Read more

Ben McLannahan

Next week’s policy meeting at the Bank of Japan is expected to be much like the 14 others since the dawn of “quantitative and qualitative easing” (QQE) last April: plenty of upbeat talk about recovery, but no change to the scale or the pace of easing.

And some think the inaction will extend a lot longer. Expectations of another shot of stimulus – “QQE2” – have been shifting back all year. According to the latest Nikkei survey, almost one-tenth of market participants now expect no further action at all. Here are four reasons why: Read more

Ben McLannahan

Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of QQE – the aggressive monetary easing regime launched by Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Under the new policy, dubbed “quantitative and qualitative easing,” the BoJ hoovers up just about every long-term bond the market is offering, with the aim of keeping interest rates low and stable enough to drive investors into riskier assets.

So far it has mostly done the job, with the currency down, stock markets up, and signs of a pick-up in lending. Meanwhile the drop in the yen has pushed core inflation to 1.3 per cent – apparently on course to hit the 2 per cent target within the original time-frame outlined last April.

But over the weekend Twitter seemed more interested in a long speech by Masaaki Shirakawa, Mr Kuroda’s predecessor, delivered last September but published (with footnotes) last week on the Bank for International Settlements website. Read more