The Week In Numbers: Land Of The Rising Market

What a difference several billions dollars’ worth of stimulus makes. In the case of Japan, it has pushed the Nikkei 225 Index above 20,000 points for the first time in 15 years.

Confidence in Japan’s stock market, it seems, was boosted by news of a monthly trade surplus for the first time in nearly three years. It pushed the Lyxor UCITS ETF Japan (SGX: CW4), which tracks Japan’s Topix index, up by 1.2% this week.

In March, Japan exported more than it imported. This was thanks to a combination of a low yen, which bolstered exporters, and cheap energy, which cut import costs. For now, it looks as though Abenomics is working.

It would appear that China is more concerned about its slowing economy than it would like to let on. Either that or it doesn’t think that its stock market or its property market has inflated quite enough, yet.

So, late on Sunday night, The People’s Bank of China cut the amount of money that domestic banks are required to hold by a full 1%. While many observers had expected a trimming of the Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR), the larger than anticipated reduction took some by surprise.

The move by China’s central bank is reckoned to inject around US$200b of fresh money into the economy.

It is hard to decide whether news of deflation in Singapore is a good or a bad thing. Last month, consumer prices fell 0.3%, which represents the fifth month in a row of negative inflation.

Consumer prices were driven down by a 2.2% fall in accommodation costs and a cut in private road transport costs. But food prices inched up. Negative inflation or deflation is likely to keep any talk of an interest rate hike on hold. But that depends on what the US Federal Reserve might do in the next few months.

And finally, social media outfit, Facebook, said its monthly active users jumped 13% to 1.4b from a year ago. It now has more active users than the entire population of China, even though, amusingly, its service is not available in the world’s most populous country.

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