Global X has unveiled its first European domiciled UCITS ETFs – a pair of thematic technology-focused strategies that transcend traditional sector, industry, and geographic classifications.
The New York-based firm, which announced its entrance to the European market earlier this month, has debuted with the Global X Video Games & Esports UCITS ETF and the Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health UCITS ETF.
The funds have listed on the London Stock Exchange and are linked to indices provided by Solactive.
Video Games & Esports
Tracking the Solactive Video Games & Esports v2 Index, the Global X Video Games & Esports UCITS ETF provides investors with targeted exposure to the video games and esports industries – entertainment genres that have seen huge growth in 2020 owing to pandemic-related stay-at-home orders.
The index includes companies involved in the development or publishing of video games, companies involved in the streaming and distribution of video gaming and esports content, and companies involved in the manufacture of hardware used in video games and esports.
Japan, United States, China and South Korea are the largest country exposures which together constitute over 80% of the index. Significant positions include Bilibili, Nexon, Take-Two Interactive, Nintendo, Sea, Capcom, Embracer, Konami, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard.
The fund has a total expense ratio of 0.50% and is available in USD (HERU LN) and GBP (HERG LN) share classes. Income is distributed semi-annually.
Global X offers a US-domiciled version of the strategy in the form of the Global X Video Games & Esports ETF (HERO US). Launched in October 2019, this Nasdaq-listed fund has grown to $545m in assets.
Telemedicine & Digital Health
The Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health UCITS ETF tracks the Solactive Telemedicine & Digital Health Index and offers investors access to companies driving advancements in the telemedicine and digital health theme.
The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated the use of digital technologies in health care, with Global X noting that some health care providers are reporting increases in the deployment and uptake of remote telehealth appointments by as much as 175x in 2020.
The underlying index includes companies involved in telemedicine, health care analytics, connected health care devices, and administrative digitalisation. Despite the global mandate, the index is heavily tilted to US stocks, which make up in excess of 80% of the index. Significant positions include M3, Nuance Communications, Neogenomics, Alibaba Health, Agilent Technologies, Illumina, Guardant Health, Cerner, Omnicell, and iRhythm Technologies.
Global X offers a version of this strategy in the US, too, namely the Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health ETF (EDOC US), listed on Nasdaq. Only introduced in July this year, the fund has raced to $524m in assets, making it one of the best-performing ETF launches of the year as measured by asset gathering.
The fund has a total expense ratio of 0.68% and is available in USD (EDOC LN) and GBP (EDOG LN) share classes. Income is distributed semi-annually.
The two indices follow almost identical construction methodologies.
Constituents are selected using Solactive’s proprietary ARTIS natural language processing algorithm which screens publicly available information to identify companies that have or are expected to have significant exposure to the particular theme, i.e. video games and esports or telemedicine and digital health.
The algorithm then ranks the companies it identifies according to the frequency with which the company is referenced in relation to specific keywords, with the top-ranking companies selected for inclusion, subject to various economic pure-play and tradability criteria.
To be eligible, companies must generate at least 50% of their revenues from relevant business operations pertaining to the theme. They must also be listed in a developed market, have a market capitalization of at least $200 million, and have posted average daily value traded in the last six months of at least $2m.
The indices each comprise a maximum of 40 constituents with constituents assigned weights according to their free-float market capitalization, subject to a maximum weight of 4.5% for the video games and esports index and 4% for the telemedicine and digital health index, and a minimum weight of 0.30%. Excess weight that results from the cap constraints is redistributed proportionally.
Rob Oliver, Head of Business Development in Europe at Global X, commented: “We believe investors are increasingly seeking exposures beyond broad-market indices to achieve their unique financial goals. Global X has spent the last decade developing a comprehensive suite of thematic strategies targeting among the highest potential growth areas of the market. We are thrilled to broaden access in Europe to Global X’s research-driven approach to thematic investing for the first time.”
Morgane Delledonne, Global X’s Director of Research in Europe, added: “Across the global economy, digitalisation is accelerating as businesses, consumers, and governments are increasingly embracing these disruptive technologies to enhance production, quality of life and offer societal benefits.
“In health care, telemedicine & digital health are revolutionising the access to and quality of patient care, while simultaneously reducing costs. On the consumer side, video games & esports are providing immersive, mobile, and social entertainment to billions of gamers around the world, dramatically changing the way we spend our leisure time. We expect these powerful themes to continue to experience long-term growth as they further disrupt traditional economic sectors.”
The funds have each been seeded with a little over $3m in assets.
Global X is a subsidiary of Asian investment house, Mirae Asset Global Investments.
The post Global X debuts in Europe with video game & esports and telemedicine & digital health ETFs first appeared on ETF Strategy.nasdaq stocks pandemic covid-19 etf stay-at-home orders south korea japan european europe china
How China combined authoritarianism with capitalism to create a new communism
What does communism 2.0 mean for democracy?
After the 1989 fall of communism in the Soviet bloc, five self-declared communist states remain today: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Belarus and Venezuela can also be added to the mix as they fulfil the criteria of a communist state – even though they do not officially invoke the ideology. So, at present, the number stands at seven. The question is, now that capitalism is the engine of China’s economy, what is communism today? And if the number of communist states is poised to grow in the near future, as some predict, what does this prospect mean for democracy?
My interest in communism goes beyond my work as a historian – it’s personal. I was born and raised in communist Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. It was a grey country where people seemed to have lost all hope. All essentials, including shoes and coffee, were rationed. But rationing cards did not mean you would get what you wanted, or even needed. Queuing for hours (sometimes even days) to buy anything that had just been delivered to a shop was a regular occurrence.
I have no doubt that my upbringing shaped my life and inspired my career. My research has examined modern central and eastern Europe, nationalism and the politics of language – particularly in the region’s totalitarian and authoritarian regimes during the past two centuries.
During my youth in the 1980s, bartering became more common, while scarce goods could only be bought with US dollars. You could exchange a summer dress two sizes too large for a T-bone steak (kotlet), or a record player that you did not need for a large can of baby formula. Only vinegar seemed to be in constant supply on the near-empty shop shelves – perhaps accounting for the sour faces and almost permanent lack of smiles. Western scholars came up with an apt term to describe this existence. They called it the “economy of scarcity” – the impact of central planning on production and the population.
And it wasn’t just a lack of food. Freedom was scarce, too. Poland, like all Soviet bloc countries, was kept under a “double lock” – meaning it was even difficult to travel to another socialist country, be it neighbouring Czechoslovakia or East Germany. You needed to apply for a particular kind of passport to travel to the “people’s democracies” (that is, Soviet bloc countries) in Europe. And after coming back home from your travels, this precious document had to be returned to a local militia headquarters (the police was then known by this militarised sobriquet).
If you wanted to visit a European capitalist country, like West Germany, you needed a another kind of passport. But only a single member of any family would be allowed to go to the “rotten capitalist west” (as it was often referred to). So the rest of your family remained as the state’s hostages to ensure you wouldn’t dare to defect. I never once saw the passport that permitted travel to all the countries of the world, which allowed the lucky few to travel to the US or Australia.
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To me, and many others, my home country felt like one big prison. Stringent censorship of publications, films and television aimed to convince us that life in Poland and the Soviet bloc was much better than in New York or Paris. But few believed the propaganda. People clandestinely listened to Radio Free Europe and Voice of America (despite the state attempting to jam them). And during the 1980s, it became easier to buy banned books in the form of samizdat (uncensored, underground publications).
Among the youth, the dream was to escape this prison and enjoy a “normal life” in a “normal country”. In a place with no rationing cards and well-stocked supermarkets, where working a single job you would be able to afford a decent standard of living, an apartment and summer holidays in the Canaries. The slang Polish name for this Spanish archipelago, “Kanary”, became colloquial shorthand for the unattainable.
Pie in the sky, our parents warned us. Their advice was to be quiet, to do what we were told by teachers or overseers – and to never say what we thought. After all, refusing to toe the Communist Party’s line, not praising Poland’s socialism – let alone opposing the system – might cost you a coveted place at a university, the loss of an apartment, or land you in prison. In the 1950s, at the height of Stalinism, people were even executed for such ideological misdemeanours.
But, unexpectedly, the cold war between the western democracies and the communist Soviet bloc came to an end in 1989, followed, two years later, by the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. This communist superpower simply and peacefully (at least in Europe) vanished into thin air, causing communism as a political and economic system to disappear from much of the world.
We were free. The last General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev was the good fairy, who made our heartfelt dream come true. The Soviet leader decided that starving his own people in order to keep up with the west in the arms race was no way forward. The subsequent systemic transition, in the span of a decade and a half, enabled former Soviet bloc states, from Poland and Hungary to Romania and Bulgaria, to accede to NATO and the European Union.
With my newfound freedom, I continued my education in South Africa and the Czech Republic. I researched in Italy, the US and Japan, before finding university positions in Ireland and Scotland.
But in the case of the 15 countries that emerged from the defunct Soviet Union, only the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became truly western and democratic. Most, Russia included, became autocracies – even if they stuck to the pretence of parliamentary elections.
Georgia, Moldova and especially Ukraine are tantalisingly close to becoming genuine democracies with the prospect of EU and NATO membership. Yet, Turkmenistan is almost as oppressive as North Korea, while Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are seen as textbook examples of repressive and kleptokratic dictatorships.
But at present, not a single post-communist or post-Soviet state declares itself to be communist.
China leads the autocracies
With the economic and political demise of Soviet-style communism, most of the communist regimes supported by the Soviet Union across the world, like Ethiopia, Afghanistan and South Yemen also collapsed. Communist Cuba is a lone exception to this trend. The Caribbean island has been a permanent thorn in the side of the US since 1961.
Present-day communism, then, is led by China – the world’s second largest economy. Beijing has been proudly communist since 1949 and is now taking on the US, which still leads – though falteringly – the globe’s shrinking camp of democracies. Since 2010, an increasing number of states have parted with democracy.
Over the past decade, democracy has been quickly reversed in post-genocide Rwanda. The same also happened in Ethiopia after the civil war in Tigray (2020-present day), while the Arab Spring’s democratic gains have been squashed across the Middle East. As in Putin’s Russia, electoral autocracies were installed in Bulgaria (2009), Hungary (2010), Serbia (2014), Turkey (2015), Poland (2016) and Slovenia (2020).
China’s population of 1.4 billion means that a fifth of all humankind lives under its communist regime. The other three self-declared communist states – Laos, North Korea and Vietnam – all border China. A new communist – and Sinic (Chinese influenced) – bloc, indeed.
So, after the two decades of decline in the wake of the 1989 collapse of the Soviet bloc, is the turbocharged Chinese-style communism 2.0 – which embraces capitalism – going to take over?
The rise and fall of democracy
The looser post-cold war definition of communism marries capitalism with socialism, as understood in the former Soviet Union. The overarching principle of socialism (seen as communism in the west) says: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution.” In practice, this unorthodox mix of Soviet-style socialism and capitalism means an authoritarian, or even totalitarian, regime under a single party’s full and (these days) AI-enhanced control. This control extends over the now capitalist-style economy, too. Through this mono-party, the invariably male leader single-handedly rules.
Often a cult of personality is developed for him and the deal is sweetened with a modicum of a welfare state. In most cases these states advertise themselves as being communist. Others, like Belarus and Venezuela may not actually call it “communism” and a different name may be given to this ideology.
For example Bolivarianism in Venezuela, national unity in Belarus or Juche in North Korea. The mono-party political system makes the Communist Party into the state and its leader into the de-facto dictator. Unchecked collectivism, or the ruling dictator’s self-serving and populist rhetoric of prioritising masses (referred to as “nation or people”) over individuals, “justifies” his rule and the system. In places like Belarus and China, this has led to dissenters being repressed and concentration camps being built to remove them from “healthy society”.
Like the pre-1989 communist states, all these countries’ ruling regimes are anti-western in their official rhetoric, and often in their actions too. This anti-western aggression was another important defining feature of the communist states of the 20th century.
But will this number rise or fall in the 21st century? During the two decades following the fall of communism in Europe, democracy as the doctrine of human and political rights steadily spread across the world. Dictators felt pressured to keep up at least the appearance of working electoral democracy in their countries. Amnesty International and Freedom House successfully shamed autocrats into mending their notorious ways and freeing political prisoners.
But after 2010, this trend was incrementally reversed. Symbolically, in this year the Chinese writer and pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Beijing felt offended by the west and took steps to suppress Liu, his family and friends. The authorities denied Liu cancer treatment and he died prematurely seven years later.
Liu’s ashes were scattered in the sea to prevent the establishment of a grave for a person many saw as a democratic hero and martyr. That would have been a focal point for China’s democrats, who might have gone on pilgrimages to pay respect to Liu’s unwavering loyalty to liberty and democracy.
Then, in 2020, the pandemic created an ideal opportunity for Beijing to dismantle democracy in Hong Kong, and a place that was once a beacon of political and economic freedom fell. Autocrats of all stripes took note.
‘To get rich is glorious’
But isn’t the whole idea of capitalism and profit anathema to the central tenets of communism? And if so, how did these two opposites attract? In the wake of then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, a great discovery of applied politics was made in China: that you can have capitalism without democracy. Spotting a gap in the market of ideas, Deng decreed that “to get rich is glorious”, meaning that capitalism was ideologically neutral and could serve the needs of a communist regime.
The current marriage of capitalism and communism is a lesson for democrats not to trust in their wishful thinking. Instead, the often touted hypothesis about capitalism’s democratising effects must be put to the test. It is clear that capitalism does not make authoritarian or totalitarian Belarus, China, Laos or Vietnam any less authoritarian or more pro-democratic or pro-western. Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela ditched capitalism once before, when they became communist, in 1948 and 1959 and 1999 respectively, and they are reluctant to re-embrace it. But China’s enthusiasm for undemocratic capitalism since 2004 – known as the Beijing consensus in the west – may compel them to follow suit soon.
China’s economic success, if it lasts for several generations, may lead to the fortification of nascent communism 2.0, with capitalism as an integral part of this ideology. Communist-capitalism is not an oxymoron any more, as long as the ruling communist party keeps entrepreneurs subservient to its ideology and governance.
So what are the specific characteristics of the new communist 2.0 state? Perhaps, the self-declaration of being a communist state is the most obvious and that this features in the constitution. Even if some states give it a different name.
Civic and human rights are seriously limited and often denounced as a “western ploy”. For instance, no individual right to vote exists in China, while the state actually owns citizens’ bodies to do with them as it pleases.
Recently, the west woke up to the dangers that its liberal and democratic values may face and the fact that capitalism alone cannot guarantee freedom and human rights. The fear that the age of communist China’s imperialism has already arrived motivated Australia, the UK and the US, for example, to form a new military pact. Imperfectly – and probably to Beijing’s delight – AUKUS agreement excludes the EU.
In China, the traditional features of totalitarianism have become irretrievably combined with the system’s appetite for hi-tech conditioning and surveillance. For example, the total control of Xinjiang’s Muslims is made possible through the region’s mass database of the population’s DNA and irises.
Technology and AI are communism 2.0’s largely bloodless methods for extending total control over the population, making sure that every individual toes the party’s line. This compliance is also enabled by the emerging military surveillance industrial complex, which is going to be at the core of successful communist-capitalism.
More control means more job openings in this complex, directly translating into economic growth, that in turn will go back into financing that control – totalitarianism’s perfect feedback loop, with no way out. And so repression becomes recognised as the engine of the economy; a guarantee of prosperity for most (though not all).
The seismic shift from Soviet-style communism 1.0, based on heavy industry, to China’s AI-supported communism 2.0 can be observed to different degrees across those seven communist states. North Korea remains an outlier and a squarely communism 1.0 state. To this day, Pyongyang refuses to follow the communism 2.0 path, despite Beijing’s quiet nudges in that direction (although there are signs that could be changing). Cuba and Venezuela, meanwhile, are also closer to communism 1.0, still making non-pragmatic choices informed by idealism and ideology. At the other end of the spectrum, Belarus, Laos and Vietnam are using whatever works economically (as long as the ruling party controls production and profits). They are China’s conscientious pupils, bent on implementing communism 2.0.
Unless the world’s democracies come up with attractive and effective solutions to socioeconomic ills such as unemployment, falling living standards and income, and inaccessible medical care, then I am afraid that communism 2.0 is going to win hands down. In this scenario, the number of communist states is bound to grow and individual and political freedoms will diminish.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is exactly the type of ambitious project that the world’s democracies acutely lack at this moment in time. The plan is to link and build a coordinated network of railway, road and maritime corridors to span all of Africa, Asia and Europe for the seamless export of products from China and the easy import of raw materials to this communist powerhouse.
Adoptions of the Chinese model’s signature mix of welfare state policies with growing authoritarian tendencies and a single party’s aspiration to seize all power have been observed in present-day Europe since 2015, be it in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland or Serbia. Unsurprisingly, these countries’ pro-authoritarian leaders are enamoured with Chinese economic and political success. They hope to establish privileged links and collaboration with the communist superpower and they may not be the last western states to fall under its spell.
To curry favour with Beijing, Europe’s aspiring autocracies are busy dismantling democracy and putting curbs on political rights and freedoms at home. Since 2015, Poland has repeatedly been risking tens of billions of Euros in developmental aid from the EU by rejecting the basic principle of EU legal primacy. Facing growing censure, in 2017, incredulously, the Polish prime minister said that it did not matter, because in such a case China would offer Poland more money than Brussels.
I fear that, after my childhood in communist Poland, I may have to live out my old age under a communist 2.0 regime of renewed oppression. However colourful and hi-tech its façade may be, the enforcement of the ruling party’s line in this possible future will be swifter and more totalitarian than in the Soviet bloc’s pre-cyberspace past.
Vast databases of citizens’ DNA and irises will make personal identifications impossible to fake, while ubiquitous online, mobile and CCTV monitoring will liquidate privacy and any possibility of organised dissent.
In the state’s gaze, each person will stand naked with no choice but to do the autocrat’s bidding or be vanished and die, forgotten by all, out of sight in a “black jail” or in an officially non-existent concentration camp.
Even the memory of such an ideological miscreant will be erased from people’s minds, thanks to the rise of the state-controlled “sovereign internet”. As George Orwell predicted in 1984: “Who controls the past, controls the future.”
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Tomasz Kamusella does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.unemployment pandemic economic growth link treatment dna spread africa japan hong kong european europe uk italy germany poland czech hungary russia ukraine eu china
From Black Death to COVID-19, pandemics have always pushed people to honor death and celebrate life
Halloween, with its mix of the macabre and the playful, provides a moment to reflect on how closely life and death are interwoven – especially in 2021.
After last year’s Halloween was very much plagued by doubt and worry thanks to a global pandemic with no clear end in sight, Halloween 2021 may feel especially exciting for those ready to celebrate it. Thanks to ongoing vigilance and continuing vaccination efforts, many people in the U.S. are now fortunate enough to feel cautiously optimistic after all those awful months that have passed since March 2020.
But Halloween opens a little window of freedom for all ages. It lets people move beyond their ordinary social roles, identities and appearances. It is spooky and morbid, yet playful. Even though death is symbolically very much present in Halloween, it’s also a time to celebrate life. The holiday draws from mixed emotions that resonate even more than usual during the COVID-19 era.
Looking at the ways survivors of past pandemics tried to celebrate the triumph of life amid widespread death can add context to the present-day experience. Consider the Black Death — the mother of all pandemics.
Black Death birthed a new death culture
The Black Death was a pandemic of plague, the infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Between 1346 and 1353, plague rampaged across Afro-Eurasia and killed an estimated 40% to 60% of the population. The Black Death ended, but plague carried on, making periodic return visits through the centuries.
The catastrophic effects of plague and its relentless recurrences changed life in every possible way.
One aspect was attitudes toward death. In Europe, high levels of mortality caused by the Black Death and its recurrent outbreaks made death even more visible and tangible than ever before. The ubiquity of death contributed to the making of a new death culture, which found an expression in art. For example, images of the dance of death or “danse macabre” showed the dead and the living coming together.
Even though skeletons and skulls representing death had appeared in ancient and medieval art, such symbols gained renewed emphasis following the Black Death. These images epitomized the transient and volatile nature of life and the imminence of death for all — rich and poor, young and old, men and women.
Artists’ allegorical references to death stressed the closeness of the hour of death. Skulls and other “memento mori” symbols, including coffins and hourglasses, appeared in Renaissance paintings to remind viewers that because death was imminent, one must prepare for it.
Bruegel the Elder’s famous “Triumph of Death” stressed the unpredictability of death: Armies of skeletons march over people and take their lives, whether ready or not.
Death culture influenced the 19th-century Western European doctors who started writing about historical pandemics. Through this lens, they imagined a specific version of past pandemics — the Black Death, in particular — that one modern historian named “Gothic epidemiology.”
Flawed image of Black Death emerged in 1800s
The German medical historian Justus Hecker, who died in 1850, and his followers wrote about the Black Death in a dark, gloomy, emotional tone. They emphasized its morbid and bizarre aspects, such as violent anti-Jewish pogroms and the itinerant Flagellants who whipped themselves in public displays of penance. In their 19th-century writing of the Black Death, it was cast as a singular event of cataclysmic proportions — a foreign, peculiar, almost wondrous entity that did not belong to European history.
As it is remembered today, the dominant symbols of the Black Death – like images of uncanny dancing skeletons and the Grim Reaper – are products of that Gothic imagination. Ironically, the iconic plague doctor was not a medieval phenomenon but a 17th-century introduction. It was only then – 300 years post-Black Death – that doctors treating plague patients started wearing special full-body outfits and a beaked mask, a precursor of modern personal protective equipment. So, sadly, my own plague doctor Halloween costume has nothing to do with the Black Death pandemic itself.
Even the term Black Death is a 19th-century invention; none of the medieval witnesses wrote of a “Black Death” or thought of plague as black.
The living legacy of this Gothic epidemiology still defines scholarly and popular understanding of plague and may creep into today’s Halloween costumes and decorations.
Triumph of death or celebration of life?
Pandemics never mean death and suffering for all. There is strong evidence that Black Death survivors experienced better living standards and increased prosperity. Even during subsequent outbreaks, differences in class, location and gender informed people’s experiences. The urban poor died in greater numbers, for example, as the well-off fled to their countryside residences. Giovanni Boccaccio’s famous “Decameron,” written in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death, tells the story of 10 young people who took refuge in the countryside, passing their days telling each other entertaining stories as a way to forget the horrors of plague and imminent death.
A later example is Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, a Habsburg ambassador to the Ottoman Empire who took refuge in the Princes’ Islands off the coast of Istanbul during a plague outbreak in 1561. His memoir describes how he spent his days fishing and enjoying other pleasant pastimes, even while the daily death toll in the city surpassed 1,000 for months.
Countless narratives testify that recurrent outbreaks of plague inspired people to find new ways to embrace life and death. For some, this meant turning toward religion: prayer, fasting and processions. For others, it meant excessive drinking, partying and illicit sex. For still others, self-isolation and finding comfort in one’s own company did the trick.
No one yet knows how the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered. But for the moment, Halloween is the perfect occasion to play with the pandemic lesson to simultaneously celebrate life and contemplate death.
As you dress up in spooky costumes or decorate your home with plastic skeletons to celebrate this late capitalist holiday – yes, Halloween is now a thriving US$10 billion industry annually – you may find comfort thinking about how the way you feel about life and death connects you to those who survived past pandemics.
[The Conversation’s science, health and technology editors pick their favorite stories. Weekly on Wednesdays.]
Nükhet Varlik does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.mortality pandemic covid-19 european europe
Dollar edges lower, BoJ inflation jumps
Last week, the Japanese yen recorded a winning week, but the currency is back to its old habits and is down for a second straight day. USD/JPY is currently trading at 113.91, up 0.18% on the day. Japan inflation on the rise For years, inflation in Japan..
Last week, the Japanese yen recorded a winning week, but the currency is back to its old habits and is down for a second straight day. USD/JPY is currently trading at 113.91, up 0.18% on the day.
Japan inflation on the rise
For years, inflation in Japan has hovered below zero. Governments have tried and mostly failed to generate inflation, which has refused to budge higher. Japan has been mired in a deflationary period since 2011, but this trend may be over. CPI was unchanged in August and rose 0.1% in September (Y0Y). This marked the first gain since March 2020, at the start of the Covid pandemic. BoJ Core CPI, which is the Bank of Japan’s preferred inflation gauge, rose 0.6% in September, its fastest pace since July 2019.
The main driver behind the upswing in inflation is higher energy costs, as crude oil prices are at multi-year highs. Higher inflation is a new fact of life all across the globe, and wholesale inflation in Japan jumped 6.3%, its highest level since 2008. This has not translated into higher consumer inflation, however, as businesses have been reluctant to pass on higher costs to consumers. That means that the BoJ’s inflation target of 2 percent will continue to remain a ‘pie in the sky’ dream for quite some time.
A new election poll indicates that the ruling LDP party, led by the new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will easily hold onto its majority in the Lower House of parliament. Japan goes to the polls next week, and Kishida is expected to implement additional monetary easing and spending in order to push inflation higher. Further easing will likely push the yen lower, as other central banks are in a tightening cycle, which has raised the yield differentials between Japan and the US, as well as other G-10 nations.
- There is weak resistance at 114.32. Above, there is resistance at 115.14
- There is support at 113.05, protecting the 113 line. This is followed by 112.60
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