Week of January 29, 2012 thru February 4, 2012

MNI Survey: Japan Dec Spending Seen -0.1% Y/Y, Nov -3.2%


-- See Separate Table For Details of Individual Forecasts

TOKYO (MNI) - Japanese real average household spending in December is expected to have declined 0.1% from a year earlier, posting a tenth straight year-on-year drop after -3.2% in November and -0.4% in October, according to the median forecast of analysts surveyed by Market News International.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will release the data at 0830 JST on Tuesday, Jan. 31 (2330 GMT Monday).

The on-year fall in spending is expected to have narrowed in December, compared with November, as low temperatures boosted demand for winter clothing, and rises in oil product prices pushed up their sales values.

ASIA FX: US Dollar Weaker, Euro Rebounds From Early Falls


SINGAPORE, Jan. 27 (MNI) - The U.S. dollar was weaker in the Asian session Friday after the euro brushed off early cross-driven weakness and recovered back to morning highs.

Euro-dollar had traded a new 2012 highs near $1.3185 last night in New York, but started the Asian session this morning with a mild retracement back below $1.3100.

Dealers blamed the morning retreat on a soft tone in euro crosses, including euro-yen, which fell this morning to a Y101.20 low, from the earlier high of Y101.58.

The cross recovered in the late morning to Y101.55, allowing euro-dollar to also stage a rebound, with the latter then breaking above its initial high of $1.3110 to $1.3120.

ANALYSIS: 50bps Australia RBA Rate Cut May Be Possible In Feb


SYDNEY (MNI) - Recent inflation data has not only upped the chances of a 25 basis points rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia in February but has also raised the possibility of a 50 bps cut, especially when rising funding costs for banks are factored in.

China Economic Data Calendar


All figures year-over-year percent changes unless otherwise specified.

Japan Dec Retail Sales Rebound Sharply On Clothing, Fuel


-- Japan Dec Retail Sales +2.5% Y/Y; Nov -2.2%; MNI F'cast +2.0%
-- Japan Dec Retail Sales Post 1st Y/Y Rise In 2 Months
-- Japan Dec Retail Car Sales +14.9% Y/Y Vs Nov +19.8%
-- Japan Dec Retail Machinery Sales -9.9% Y/Y; Nov -51.9%

TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's December retail sales posted the first year-on-year rise in two months, up sharply by 2.5%, as cold weather boosted demand for winter clothing and fuel, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released Friday showed.

Sales growth was also attributable to a continued recovery in sales of automobiles following a sharp drop in demand in 2010, when the government ended subsidies for buying low-emission vehicles.

Update: BOJ Minutes: Fincl Market Strains Will Be prolonged


-- Adds Details from 9th Paragraph

TOKYO (MNI) - Bank of Japan board members warned that strains in global financial markets fueled by sovereign debt problems in Europe will be prolonged and could tip the global economy into recession, the minutes of the BOJ's Dec. 20-21 policy meeting showed Friday.

"Members shared the view that financial markets were likely to remain under strain for a protracted period since there was no immediate remedy to the sovereign debt problems in Europe," the minutes showed.

Japan Dec CPI Posts 3rd Y/Y Fall in Row On Global Slowdown


-- Japan Dec Core CPI -0.1% Y/Y Vs MNI Median Forecast -0.1%
-- Japan Dec CPI Posts 3rd Straight Y/Y Drop; Nov -0.2%
-- Central Tokyo Jan CPI -0.4% Y/Y Vs Dec -0.3%
-- Japan 2011 Average Core CPI -0.3%, 3rd Drop In Row
-- Japan Dec CPI Energy Costs +6.9% Y/Y Vs Nov +6.7%

TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.1% on year in December, posting the third straight drop as global demand slows and the strong yen keeps import costs down, data released Friday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed.

The December core reading matched the median economist forecast for -0.1% in a Market News International survey.

BOJ Minutes: Strains In Financial Markets Will Be prolonged


TOKYO (MNI) - Bank of Japan board members warned that strains in global financial markets fueled by sovereign debt problems in Europe will be prolonged and could tip the global economy into recession, the minutes of the BOJ's Dec. 20-21 policy meeting showed Friday.

"Members shared the view that financial markets were likely to remain under strain for a protracted period since there was no immediate remedy to the sovereign debt problems in Europe," the minutes showed.

RBNZ Bollard: Monetary Policy To Factor Rise In Retail Rates


SYDNEY (MNI) - The Reserve Bank of New Zealand pushed back its timing for the next official cash rate hike but in the meantime suggested the possibility of a cut to offset the upward pressure on retail interest rates cause by rise in banks' funding costs.

In a speech to the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce in Christchurch Friday, Governor Alan Bollard hinted at the possibility of a rate cut when he said monetary policy will need to take account of a likely upward rise in retail interest rates.

Bollard's speech was devoted to the two events in 2011 that jolted the New Zealand economy - the European debt crisis and Canterbury earthquakes. While the events created uncertainty, we have moved from "unknown unknowns" to "known unknowns," Bollard said.

Repeat: Analysts: 'Green Shoots'Revisited; Past Q4 US GDP


--Retransmitting Story Published 12:51 ET Thursday

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (MNI) - Ahead of Friday's release of fourth quarter U.S. GDP and in the wake of Wednesday's Fed events, there is much discussion about whether the "green shoots" seen in late 2011 and early 2012 will lead to true economic recovery or be a dud like the false starts seen in prior years.

The phrase "green shoots" or budding signs of economic growth in the U.S. economy was utilized often in media reports in 2009 and then later, in 2010, when there was a series of positive U.S. data surprises.

The phrase became more widely used after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a 60 Minutes interview March 15, 2009. "I do see green shoots.