The yen neared its weakest level in seven years on Thursday and Tokyo’s stock indices once more outperformed their Asian peers with the prospect of a snap election continuing to hold sway over the country’s markets.
Speculation that Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, could seek to confirm his mandate for extended stimulus and delay a second scheduled increase in consumption tax set for next October continued to dominate sentiment.
The Obama administration faces pressure to include currency provisions in a new Pacific Rim trade pact, with Republicans and Democrats citing swings in the yen as cause for action.
The White House has been trying to avoid addressing the issue in talks with Japan and 10 other countries over a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), since a bipartisan majority in Congress called last year for any resulting pact to include provisions to ban currency manipulation.
Toyota Motor Corp. said it expects record profit in its current fiscal year, buoyed by a weaker yen that helps exports and a model lineup that is steaming ahead in the U.S.
The world’s largest auto maker by vehicle sales turned in another blockbuster quarter powered by sales of its profitable sport-utility vehicles in the U.S. Toyota’s July-September net profit rose 23% from a year earlier to ¥539 billion yen ($4.7 billion), topping profit at global rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co.
Looking for ways to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, US President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking to press ahead with the mega-regional free-trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But is the US going about it the right way?
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Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive POLICY Council (AAPC), which represents Ford, General Motors and Chrysler on trade policy issues, told Bloomberg BNA that it would be very difficult for USTR to reach an agreement with Japan.
Automakers, including General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., are hopeful a free trade agreement with currency manipulation stipulations will help grow sales in markets such as Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.
GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem said Wednesday that Japan is his biggest worry on getting a deal done.
“If Japan retains the ability to manipulate its currency, the largest market outside the U.S. in TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) will remain closed to the U.S.,” he said at a U.S. Commercial Service business forum in Detroit.
U.S. automakers expressed frustration on Tuesday that trade negotiators aren’t pushing harder to include currency rules in international trade agreements.
The American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), which represents the big three auto companies, said they are “alarmed” that the latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Hanoi have ended without the subject being discussed.
"After 21 rounds of TPP negotiations, we remain alarmed that a key priority for the U.S. Congress has been ignored,” said AAPC President Matt Blunt.