Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Short-term hopes, long-term gloom

Photo

By Tomasz Janowski

Optimism that Japan’s economy will bounce back from a post-quake slump and pessimism about its long-term prospects is the prevailing message of economists addressing the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit.

The reasons for the near-term optimism are well known: strides made by Japanese manufacturers in restoring production and supply networks ripped apart by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and expectations that sooner or later hundreds of billions of dollars spent on rebuilding the ravaged northeast coast will grease the wheels of the stuttering economy.

There is also little doubt about what has been holding back Japan, which has been in and out of deflation and recessions over the past decade.

Its society is aging faster than any other nation, the productive (and consuming) population is shrinking, its manufacturers keep shifting operations abroad where wages are lower and markets grow and its debt burden makes it impossible for Tokyo to engage in any grand-scale pump-priming.

Looking forward to inflation

Photo

By Tim Kelly

Yoshiharu Hoshino, the president of Hoshino Resort, one of Japan’s leading resort operators, is looking forward to a dose of inflation after years of sliding prices.

By engineering a rise in rates by printing money, he reckons Japan can make a big chunk of its burgeoning national debt disappear, which along with tax hikes is, he predicts, likely the way Japan is going to exit a potential crisis as debt soars to more than twice its gross domestic product.

Suntech eyes Japan growth

Photo

By Leonora Walet

Suntech Power may be the world’s biggest solar panel maker but it trails Sharp, Kyocera, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric in the fast-growing Japanese solar market.

Now, the company is set to take on these Japanese rivals on their home turf and aims to double its market share in the country to 10 percent next year.

When debt monetisation makes sense

Photo


If push comes to shove and Japan runs into difficulties finding buyers for its low-yielding government bonds, a little debt monetisation — a dirty word for central banks — would not be a bad thing.

Tomoya Masanao, managing director and head of Japan portfolio management at PIMCO, told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit that if private investors are not willing to buy JGBs, then the central bank should fill the breach.

Perils of disaster fixation

Photo

By Tim Kelly

Fixated on reviving the shattered northeastern seaboard, Japan risks neglecting growth in the rest of the economy, warns Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Lawson, Japan’s second-biggest convenience store operator.

“The question is what do you do about the other 95 percent of the economy,” Niinami told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit in Tokyo.

Hard road on Japan’s nuclear policy

Photo

By Kevin Krolicki

Suddenly Taro Kono doesn’t look like quite the lonely maverick in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.

Kono, a member of the lower house of parliament, has been an unrelenting critic of Japan’s pursuit of nuclear power since he was first elected in 1996. That made him an odd fit with the LDP, which ruled Japan almost continuously from the mid-1950s to 2009 and put nuclear power at the center of Japan’s energy policy.

from Ask...:

Where oil prices will be in June 2012?

Wars and revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami have sent oil and gas prices soaring with economists worrying over the impact of escalating energy costs on global growth. Last week, for the first time in a decade, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to reach an agreement to boost the output as Saudi Arabia did not convince the others that world's economy will need more fuel.

From June 13 to June 15, Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit 2011 will feature more than 60 global decision-makers in the energy and climate businesses to discuss the challenges facing the 21st century. This is your chance to give us your forecast on whether oil prices are more likely to got back to their peak of $147 per barrel hit on 2008, or below the current range of around $120.

from Ask...:

Will Greece be the first euro-zone country to restructure its debt?

The latest deal for Greece, including a new policy package and possible financing, does not contemplate the restructuring of its debt, but financial markets keep speculating on the possibility it may be the first of the euro-zone countries to reschedule its public debt. Who do you think may follow?

from MediaFile:

Tech Summit Q&A, day 3: “Unsexy” tech companies

The third day of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit saw a lot of discussion about the valuation and  potential of "sexy" social networks and lesser known startups.

Saad Khan, Partner at CMEA Capital, talked about investing in LiveOps and Pixazza, two companies the former which he called "unsexy", and how they "stitch together the world's labor force."

from MediaFile:

Tech Summit Q&A, day 2: Symantec CEO talks privacy

Online security was a theme on day two of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit.

Enrique Salem, the CEO of software security maker Symantec, suggested ways consumers can protect their privacy:

  •