The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

JAL imminent bankruptcy is yet another indication of a changing world economic landscape

I continue to be of the view that we are in the early stages of a revolutionary period and that the companys which survive will not be the ones that composed the DOW/ FTSE/ Nikkei indexes of the last 30 years. There is a shift occurring and the economic crisis is only a symptom, as global balances shift and move in ways we cannot even comprehend today.

Anyhow, in related news, yet another bastion of the old economy is in dire straits. JAL (Japan Air Lines) began in 1951, first flew to San Francisco in 1954, and in 1987 became 100% public owned. In 2002, JAL took over JAS (Japan Air Systems). 2009 November was their worst financials.  JAL stock has dropped from ¥210 to ¥4 today.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that even government employees have been abandoning JAL for competitor ANA recently.  Listening to my wife, there is a tremendous sense of patriotism and loyalty to JAL and they have continued to disappoint, yet this is a big day in Japan as they watch this situation unfold.

Out with the old companys and in with the new … banks, are you watching?

JAL plans radical cuts as bankruptcy looms

JAL’s expected filing for court protection from its creditors is one of Japan’s biggest corporate failures. The government is preparing at least Y900bn ($9.9bn) in new equity and credit lines to keep the airline operating while in bankruptcy.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson

Written by Colin Henderson

January 19, 2010 at 02:46

Posted in economy, Japan

Tagged with , ,

Japanese exports beginning to slow less quickly

The slowing down of the slowdown continues everywhere, but still a long way to go.  We all rely on imports from countries such as Japan, and it seems we are beginning to buy again.

April Curr Acct Surplus Shrinks But Export Fall Slows – Japan

Japan’s current account, the broadest measure of the country’s trade with the rest of the world, logged in April a Y630.5 billion surplus, a decline of 54.5% on year, data released Monday by the Ministry of Finance showed.

But in a positive sign that overseas demand is picking up slightly, exports fell less precipitously in April, dropping by 40.6% to Y3.915 trillion, compared to their 46.5% fall in March.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson

Written by Colin Henderson

June 7, 2009 at 22:26

Posted in Japan

Bank of Japan announces improvement in Japanese economy

In a surprising statement Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa announces improvements in the Japanese economy.  It is surprising following several years of slow economy even before the economic crisis we are now in.  Click through for that, and a review of several economies including Canada.

Japan raises outlook | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japan raised its economic outlook for the first time in three years on Monday, and an important measure of German business sentiment rose in May, in further signs the worst of the global recession may be over.

Research and guest comments by Nobuyo Henderson:

I look at the number of people losing jobs, stores closing, and while in Azaba Juban last week, it was very quiet and I could feel the difference.  Next to Tullys a new coffee shop closed after two months, and is replaced with a cheap meat restaurant.  I think it is too early to say it is over especially when he said this just a few weeks ago.

Previously, the government had said the economy was worsening rapidly and in a severe state.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 25, 2009 at 18:04

Posted in Japan

Tagged with ,

Banks and insider trading in foreign countries to influence stock prices

This from Japan might be a forerunner of things we might see in North America. A Foreign bank (French) involved in manufacturing information, based on insider information to improve a stock price.

With the predicted problems in commercial real estate to come, there will be increased pressure on banks with such investments.

BNP Paribas suspected of making false report on Urban Corp. deal+

TOKYO, May 8 (AP) – (Kyodo)—The Japanese unit of France’s BNP Paribas is suspected to have made a false report to the Financial Services Agency regarding trading of shares in Urban Corp., a now failed Japanese property developer, sources close to the matter said Friday.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson

Written by Colin Henderson

May 25, 2009 at 00:11

Posted in Japan, Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

How much do we understand the meaning of less GDP now and forseeable future

The fall in GDP for Japan appears nothing short of catastrophic, yet on a visit there last week by Nobuyo, the effects of this change are not obvious to the everyday Japanese person.

One change that was noticeable in Tokyo is less foreigners (Gaizin).  The area around Roppongi and Azabajuban is normally where one can expect to see many western faces in the restaurants and bars.  No more.  Companies such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG as well as numerous other western financial services companies had representation in Japan, however that is quickly shifting.

This still does not appear to impact the average Japanese, at least not yet.  In fact as the country ages it almost seems to fit with a reduced economy.

Japan’s economy down 15.2% | Economist

The data, released on Wednesday May 20th, showing a 4% contraction of GDP on a quarterly basis, and a 15.2% annualised slump, reflect a continuation of Japan’s worst economic performance since the mid-1950s. Not only were the first-quarter figures bad. The previous quarter’s horrendous fall was itself revised downward by more than two percentage points, to an annualised 14.4%.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson

Written by Colin Henderson

May 21, 2009 at 00:00

Implications for banks and the degree of restructure required

Japan continues to lead in terms of making changes to accommodate the current economic climate.  While the English story here is March, the other is dated today.

This is significant for the West in terms of understanding this economic situation is not going to be cured overnight, and when we speak of recovery, its important to consider what recovery means, and how long it might be before we get to return to anything like the economic levels of 2007.

Toyota Cuts Exec Pay, Eliminates Bonuses

AP) Toyota Motor Corp. is reacting to the slump in U.S. auto sales by further cutting North American production, slashing executives’ compensation up to 30 percent and offering buyouts to about 18,000 workers.


Relevance to Bankwatch:

One implication for banking is that a restructuring to accommodate and work within the new economy for the next few years is required.  This requires changes to economic models, cost structures, and imho a fresh look at internet and how it can be levered to develop those models.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson

Written by Colin Henderson

May 20, 2009 at 18:38

Posted in Business Models, Japan

Lyxor plans 15 new ETF funds in Japan oferred online only

In keeping with watching for new and innovative shifts in banking, Societe Generale subsidiary Lyxor plans a big push with new ETF’s in the Japan market.  These are being offerred online only.

Lyxor (Societe Generale) plans big push of global products in Japan | FT


Lyxor Asset Management is planning to expand its exchange traded product range in Japan and the rest of Asia as investors in the region gradually gain more knowledge about the funds.

The subsidiary of Société Générale will introduce 15 new ETFs into Japan this year, and market them through online brokerages, Lyxor says. That will add to the asset management firm’s existing 13 ETFs currently available to Japanese investors. The new ETFs will feature funds already listed in Europe.

Researched by Nobuyo Henderson.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 18, 2009 at 18:26

Posted in Japan

Tagged with , , ,

Retail banking: Concerted effort to engage with the customer | Japan

It is interesting to watch how banks are looking to move beyond the banking crisis.  Here is an example in Japan, which is already highly focussed on their customers.  Sumitomo Mitsui Bank is initiating new processes and methods to generate even better customer focus.

Retail banking: Concerted effort to engage with the customer | FT

Loiter in a Tokyo branch of the Sumitomo Mitsui Bank and you will notice some changes. There is still a large closed-off area of bank officers shuffling documents, but there are now two counters, a high one at which to make deposits and transfer money, and a more appealing line of low desks, behind which staff wait to discuss your financial needs.

“In the eyes of our customers, we wanted clearly to separate payments from consultation about things like a new account,” says Takashi Yamashita, a senior vice president in SMBC’s retail bank.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 21, 2009 at 00:22

Posted in Japan

Tagged with ,

Strong Japanese Banks buy up weak American Banks

Lots of news coming out of Japan, as they take advantage of their relatively strong position to buy up American Banks.

Nomura continues global push with Lehman’s European equities and investment banking businesses

Tokyo, London, September 23, 2008 – Nomura, the pre-eminent Asian-based investment bank, today announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the European and Middle Eastern equities and investment banking operations of Lehman Brothers.

MUFG, Nomura take advantage of financial turmoil to buy up U.S. strugglers

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. is applying the finishing touches to a plan to invest up to 200 billion yen in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., sources said Wednesday.

The remaining $2.5 billion in common shares will be sold in a public stock offering. SMFG plans to spend up to 200 billion yen, or about $1.8 billion, on shares, the sources said. But this will still likely leave SMFG’s stake in Goldman Sachs at less than 10 percent.

Goldman Sachs’ decision to sell shares is apparently aimed at improving its balance sheet to meet U.S. regulations before its transformation into a holding firm.

Written by Colin Henderson

September 26, 2008 at 12:17

Posted in Japan

Japanese investments in North American Banks continue | MUFG & Nomura

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group are investing $8.4 bn in Morgan Stanley giving them somewhere between 10 & 20% ownership.

MUFJ to Invest Up to $8.4 Billion in Morgan Stanley

The Japanese bank will become “a valuable partner as we transition to a bank holding company and build our bank services and deposit base,” Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer John Mack said in a statement today.


Apparently the Nomura acquisition of Lehmans Asian assets is close to fruition.

Written by Colin Henderson

September 22, 2008 at 10:11

Posted in Japan

%d bloggers like this: