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Where oh where can I put my savings?

Post by Mike Smitka

I’ve played with the latest yearbook of system of national accounts data for Japan, adding the 2011 data to an existing spreadsheet. Unfortunately the detailed System of National Accounts data aren’t published until roughly a year after then end of the fiscal year, so CY2011 are the latest.

…companies would rather sit on cash than invest…

For various reasons (particularly when data are chain-linked), past data are adjusted retroactively. [Pardon the oxymoron: all data are for the past!] All I did was plug in the latest, not go back to adjust for shifts in 2008-10. In any case, we don’t have a continuous time series, so it’s arbitrary how to link old series and new series – though we should be thankful that the statistical authorities continue to improve their data collection and accordingly the details of GDP calculations.
Savings-Investment Balances Through 2011

So the graph here is for now the best we can do, until the next data are released, probably in summer 2014.

One final note: it is also only in the annual update (the latest is here at www.cao.esri.go.jp) that we get details of local government activity. That’s unfortunate, because that’s where most actual expenditure occurs. From this I infer that local government (prefectures and cities) don’t themselves compile statements of their activities on a timely basis, and hence the statistical work (for GDP, under the Cabinet Office) can’t include such data on a quarterly basis. That means we really don’t know what’s happening in terms of fiscal policy – we only know what the Diet has passed, but we don’t know the timing of actual expenditures until long after the fact. Concrete is poured locally, and we don’t get concrete data until long after it’s set.

Concrete is poured locally, and we don’t get data on fiscal policy until long after it’s set….

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