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The cost of imports from Asia and North America are moving in opposite directions

Apr 12, 2024
The things we buy from China and Japan became cheaper in March, while prices rose on automotive goods and energy from Mexico and Canada.
Each category of goods that the U.S. buys from Mexico, Canada, China and Japan has its own price trend, as does each country's currency.
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How a weak Japanese yen affects the U.S. economy

Mar 27, 2024
Japanese autos have not dropped in price and U.S. exports now become more expensive.
Until recently, Japan’s central bank has kept interest rates low to spur growth.
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

What makes Japan’s economy the odd man out? 

In an effort to stimulate a sluggish economy, the government got creative and started applying negative interest rates.
Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda speaks at a press conference.
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Why would China sell off its U.S. debt — if that's what it's doing

Nov 7, 2023
There's a hot debate about what it's doing with its holdings, and the answer could affect how much it costs Americans to borrow money.
"We care about whether foreign governments or entities are buying U.S. Treasurys because it impacts the cost of borrowing in this country," said Jesse Wheeler of Morning Consult.
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Japan loosens its grip on long-term interest rates

Oct 31, 2023
The Bank of Japan’s "yield curve control policy" could be on its way out as central banks around the world raise rates to beat inflation.
Until recently, the Bank of Japan was trying to keep interest rates on bonds low to stimulate the economy. Above, the Bank of Japan building.
Richard A. Brooks/AFP via Getty Images

Why the U.S. isn’t concerned that Japan might act to prop up its currency

Sep 20, 2023
The U.S. isn’t usually thrilled when a country intervenes in its own currency. But boosting the yen is likely to help Japan’s economy, which could help the U.S. in turn.
If the yen jumps around too much, anyone that wants to trade with Japan might hold off.
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China and Japan have a little less appetite for U.S. Treasurys

Aug 21, 2023
The two biggest foreign holders of U.S. debt have their own complicated reasons for buying fewer Treasurys.
In Japan, the weak yen is playing a role in the reduced appetite for U.S. Treasurys. Above, the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo.
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For public good, not for profit.

Europe's seeing inflation fade. The UK still has it bad. In Japan, inflation is actually good news.

Jun 30, 2023
How some other big economies are handling rising prices.
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As economies worldwide struggle with inflation, Japan faces another problem: a weak yen

Sep 22, 2022
As many central banks raise interest rates, the Bank of Japan is keeping them low to prop up the economy. That leads to a depreciated currency.
The Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo. The BoJ has kept interest rates low to prop up the economy, but the side effects include a depreciating currency.
Richard A. Brooks/AFP via Getty Images

Japanese shocked by rising prices after decades of economic stagnation

Jun 20, 2022
Japan had struggled to even reach the central bank inflation target of 2%.
Japanese consumers have come to expect stable prices, making it difficult for stores to consider increasing them.
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