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  • 2019-04-17 02:03

    TOKYO (MNI) - Despite rapid growth in real estate loans, the Bank of Japan still sees financial and economic activities as a whole showing no signs of overheating such as seen through the late 80's 'bubble', the BOJ's biannual Financial System Report released Wednesday said.

    However, the report said "possible vulnerabilities of the real estate market warrant close attention."

    The latest FSR again pointed to the accumulated risks caused by prolonged easy policy, but the comments will not prompt the BOJ board to unwind it anytime soon.

    The report also said regional financial institutions have generally not been able to secure profits commensurate with the increase in risk-weighted assets, while their capital adequacy ratios and stress resilience have declined moderat

  • 2019-04-17 01:32

    --Japan March Exports Fall -2.4% Y/Y After -1.2% In February

    TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's exports fell again in March, posting a fourth straight drop, indicating exports continue to be hit by slowing global demand, with Bank of Japan officials watchful over the outlook.

    BOJ officials are looking at how recovering domestic demand in China will boost Japan's exports of capital goods, automobiles and electronic parts and devices this month to see whether examine the exports have bottomed.

    Exports, a main driver for Japan's economy, fell 2.4% on year in March following a 1.2% decline in February, beating the MNI median forecast of a 2.7% fall, led by lower exports steels, auto parts and optical equipment.

    Exports to China fell 9.4% on year in March following a gain of 5.6% in

  • 2019-04-16 10:51

    --Repeating Story Initially Sent at 7:50 ET/11:50 GMT Tuesday

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The Federal Reserve wants to boost its holdings of short-term Treasury bills to give itself flexibility to stimulate growth in another downturn, but officials are wary of moving too quickly for fear of distorting markets, Philadelphia Fed economist Roc Armenter told MNI.

    Owning more bills would allow the Fed to quickly reinvest maturing proceeds into longer-term debt to stimulate markets, a la 2011's Operation Twist, in which the Fed sold $400 billion of short-dated bonds and bought longer-term Treasuries to lower long-term rates and encourage people to invest in riskier assets.

    It would also permit the option, if necessary, of more quickly shrinking the Fed's balance sheet -- b

  • 2019-04-16 08:36

    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the February data on the Canadian manufacturing sales released Tuesday by Statistics Canada:

    - Sales decreased 0.2% in February, not as much as the 0.5% drop expected by analysts in a MNI survey. However, estimates for the previous two months were revised down: to +0.8% from +1.0% for January and to -1.5% from -1.1% in December. Real sales fell 0.5% after increasing 1.5% in January.

    - Declines were widespread across 15 of 21 industries, representing 65.9% of manufacturing trade, led by a 1.4% contraction in durable goods industries. In particular, auto sales fell 4.4% on the month. Excluding motor vehicles, sales actually rose 0.2%.

  • 2019-04-11 11:32

    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - U.S. growth and inflation indicators would need to deteriorate relative to the Fed's forecasts for officials to consider an interest rate cut, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President Jim Bullard said Thursday, adding that he's uncertain about the economy's performance so far this year.

    His remarks come on the heels of Wednesday's publication of the minutes of the FOMC's March meeting, in which a majority of officials said the current level of rates appear to be appropriate for the rest of the year.

    "The (Summary of Economic Projections) is essentially saying if the economy evolves as expected, we would not make any changes in 2019," Bullard told reporters after giving a speech in Tupelo, Miss.

  • 2019-04-11 08:30

    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the February data on the Canadian New Housing Price Index released Thursday by Statistics Canada:

    - Canada's new housing prices were flat in February after edging down 0.1% in January, marking the seventh month without any increase. The index recovered 0.1% year-over-year.

    - House only prices were flat on the month and down 0.1% year-over-year. The index posted its fifth consecutive decrease on a 12-month basis, which had not happened since November 2008-December 2009, when it fell during 14 consecutive months.

    - Land only prices were also flat on the month, for a 12-month gain of 0.3%.

    - Weakness in large cities explained much of February's performance.

  • 2019-04-10 11:50

    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Federal Reserve Governor Randy Quarles on Wednesday urged financial institutes to accelerate their transition toward alternative risk-free rates including the Secured Overnight Funding Rate and away from LIBOR, warning LIBOR use could end in two and a half years.

    Speaking on the one-year anniversary of the New York Fed's publication of SOFR and other new risk-free rates, Quarles noted substantial progress in the adaptation of the new rates.

    SOFR futures saw more than $7 trillion in cumulative notional volumes since they were created, a crucial development for market liquidity that's spurring the growth of SOFR swaps and other derivative markets, he said. Over the past year, $81 billion in SOFR-linked debt were also issued.

  • 2019-04-10 07:00

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday reported a pull back in mortgage activity in the April 5 week after a sharp gain in the previous week, with activity down 5.6% as mortgage rates ticked up slightly.

    Here are some of the key features of the report:

    - The Refinance Index fell by 11% after surging to a three-year high in the previous week, while the Purchase Index rose by 1%.

    - The 30-year average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.40% in the current week from 4.36% in the previous week. There were gains for jumbo, FHA, and 15-year mortgages as well.

  • 2019-04-10 02:37

    TOKYO (MNI) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Wednesday that consumer prices remain weak in Japan when compared with the economic expansion and the tightness of labor markets.

    "Weak price moves continue but prices for processed foods are raising. If price hike moves expand, corporate and household inflation expectations will rise gradually," Kuroda said at the Trust Companies Association of Japan.

    Kuroda, however, said that it will take time to achieve the 2% price stability target.

    "Various risks, including overseas economies, persist.

  • 2019-04-09 09:00

    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The International Monetary Fund slashed Canada's real growth projection to 1.5% for 2019 in its April World Economic Outlook update. It had previously forecast 1.9% growth for both 2019 and 2020, but lowered the 2019 estimate before an expected rebound to 1.9% next year.

    The 0.4-percentage point downward revision brought IMF's view closer to the Bank of Canada's 1.7% growth estimate.