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雇用と物価 デフレに至る悪循環を防げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 29, 2009)
Deflationary pressures must be nipped in bud
雇用と物価 デフレに至る悪循環を防げ(8月29日付・読売社説)

Utmost caution must be exercised to prevent falling prices and the worsening employment situation from allowing deflation to take a vicelike grip on the nation's economy.
 物価下落と雇用情勢の悪化が、深刻なデフレを招かぬよう、細心の注意が必要だろう。

The nation's key consumer price index in July fell 2.2 percent from a year earlier, marking the first fall in the 2 percent range in the postwar period.
 7月の全国消費者物価指数が、前年同月比2・2%下がり、下落率は戦後初めて2%台をつけた。

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in July climbed to a postwar high of 5.7 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from the previous month.
 一方、7月の完全失業率は前月より0・3ポイント悪化して5・7%となり、戦後最悪を更新した。

The worsening employment situation is eroding workers' incomes. Tightening the purse strings at home leads to sluggish sales of products and, in turn, to falling prices. As companies struggle with falling sales, they resort to restructuring and other measures to cut costs, exacerbating the grim employment situation. The latest government figures on prices and employment show that a vicious cycle of deflationary pressures is becoming increasingly real.
 雇用の悪化で労働者の収入が減ると、物が売れなくなって価格が下がる。このため企業の売り上げが減り、リストラなどで雇用はさらに厳しくなる。物価と雇用の統計は、デフレの悪循環が現実味を増してきたことを示している。

Whichever party takes power after Sunday's House of Representatives election, the new administration must do everything it can to arrest these deflationary pressures and boost the economy.
 衆院選後の政権がどうあれ、デフレ阻止と景気浮揚に全力を挙げねばならない。

The sharp price falls are due mainly to the drop in oil prices that soared last year. Gasoline prices fell as much as 30 percent from last year, lowering overall prices about 1 percent.
 物価の大幅下落は、前年に高騰した原油の値下がりが主因だ。ガソリン価格は30%も下がり、物価全体を約1%押し下げた。

But prices, excluding those of energy-related products, fell 0.9 percent. The rate of fall was about the same as that in fiscal 2001 during a serious deflationary period.
 だが、エネルギー関連を除いた物価も0・9%下がり、下落率は深刻なデフレ期の2001年度とほぼ同水準だ。

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Domestic demand weak

The current deflationary trend should not be waved off as a temporary phenomenon caused by the correction in oil prices after they skyrocketed last year. Rather, weak domestic demand should be considered the major cause of falling prices.
現在のデフレ傾向を、原油高の反動による一時的な現象だと軽視してはなるまい。
 物価下落の核心は、内需の不足にあると見るべきだ。

The nation's real gross domestic product for the April-June period returned to positive growth for the first time in five quarters. However, the improvement was mainly attributed to a recovery in exports and policy initiatives under the government's stimulus package that, for example, increased sales of energy-saving home appliances. Worryingly, overall domestic demand remains weak.
 4~6月期の実質国内総生産(GDP)は、5四半期ぶりにプラス成長に転じた。だが、輸出回復と、経済対策による省エネ家電の販売増加など政策効果が中心で、内需全体の足腰は弱い。

Boosting consumption is critical for a full economic recovery. However, sales at department stores and supermarkets have been lethargic for a prolonged period, and sales at convenience stores, which had been brisk, registered a record plunge in July.
 本格回復のカギを握る消費は、百貨店とスーパーの販売不振が長期化し、好調だったコンビニの売上高も、7月には過去最大の下げを記録した。

Consumers are cutting back spending on foods and other daily necessities. Both the number of shoppers and the amount each shopper spent at convenience stores decreased last month.
 消費者は、食品や日用品など必需品への支出を切りつめ、コンビニでは来客数と1人あたりの購入額が、ともに減った。

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BOJ has role to play

Fierce price wars might be good news for consumers, but excessive discounting would add to a deflationary spiral, in which the economy heads south while prices fall.
 安売り競争も激しい。消費者にはうれしいことだが、行き過ぎれば物価と景気が連鎖的に落ち込むデフレスパイラルにつながる。

For the time being, we think it is necessary to bolster domestic demand through economic pump-priming and employment support measures.
 当面は、景気・雇用対策で内需を支える必要がある。

The Democratic Party of Japan has indicated it will overhaul the supplementary budget compiled for boosting the economy if it takes power. We agree that it is important to eliminate wasteful spending, but austerity measures such as drastic cuts in spending on public works projects should be avoided.
民主党は、景気対策のための補正予算を組み直すという。無駄の見直しは大切だが、公共事業の大幅カットなど緊縮策は避けねばならない。

The Bank of Japan's monetary policy has a crucial role to play. Although the central bank has kept its key interest rate near zero, real interest rates will rise if prices fall. This would sap the impact of the bank's low interest rate policy.
 日銀の金融政策も重要だ。政策金利はゼロ%に近い低さだが、物価下落率の分だけ、実質金利は上昇する。低金利政策の効果はかなり減殺されていよう。

If the deflationary trend gets stronger, the central bank should consider taking additional measures, such as increased purchases of long-term government bonds and the introduction of a quantitative easing policy setting a target for the outstanding balance of current account deposits held by private financial institutions at the central bank.
 デフレ傾向が強まるようなら、長期国債の買い入れ増額や、日銀当座預金残高を目標とした量的金融緩和策の導入など、追加策を検討すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 29, 2009)
(2009年8月29日01時03分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-29 07:44 | 英字新聞

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