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The Financial Express

Japan's households, firms keep piling up cash at record pace

| Updated: January 16, 2021 19:04:10


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Women walk past a restaurant at a shopping district in Tokyo, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon Women walk past a restaurant at a shopping district in Tokyo, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japan’s currency in circulation and bank deposits rose at a record pace in December, data showed on Wednesday, as a resurgence in coronavirus infections prompted companies and households to continue hoarding cash rather than spending it.

The numbers highlight the challenge the government faces in trying to contain the virus without threatening Japan’s already fragile economic recovery.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce an extension of state of emergency measures beyond Tokyo as early as Wednesday as Covid-19 infections keep rising, reports Reuters.

Japan’s M3 money stock - or currency in circulation and deposits at financial institutions - rose 7.63 per cent in December from a year earlier, marking the biggest increase on record, Bank of Japan data showed. The rise slightly exceeded a 7.59 per cent gain in November.

Companies continue to pile up deposits as a precaution against the pandemic, while households are holding off on spending due to uncertainty over the outlook, a BOJ official said at a briefing.

Japan’s economy has been recovering moderately, after suffering its biggest postwar slump in April-June last year due to curbs imposed on economic activity to contain the virus.

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