Japan is off and running or so they say (for the nth time in 20 years). Yet inquiring minds will be quick to note Japan Deflation Concern Rises Even as Growth Quickens.

The acceleration of Japan’s economy to the fastest growth pace in more than two years masked a slide in prices of goods and services that threatens to temper the nation’s recovery.

The domestic demand deflator, a measure of price levels that excludes the cost of imports, fell 2.6 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the most since 1958, Cabinet Office figures showed yesterday in Tokyo. At the same time, gross domestic product jumped 4.8 percent, the most since early 2007.

Sustained price declines threaten to curtail a corporate- profit rebound that’s already been insufficient to spur a rally in Japan’s shares this quarter. The report prompted Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan to say the government may outline an emergency-spending package as soon as today, adding that “I’m concerned we’re entering into a deflationary situation.”

“This isn’t sustainable growth and the government knows it — that’s precisely why they’re talking about the GDP deflator,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at RBS Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo.

Consumer prices in the world’s second-largest economy have fallen for seven straight months, undermined by the deepest recession in the postwar era. Even after seven months of gains in factory output, about one third of Japan’s factories sit idle.

“It might be a decade before the job market returns to the level of health we had a year or two ago,” he said. “The number of jobs may recover but not wages. It’s very fragile.”

A price war over jeans is a sign of that fragility. Discount retailer Don Quijote Co. last month started selling jeans for 690 yen ($7.70), undercutting Aeon Co., Japan’s largest supermarket chain, which has been offering them for about $9. Fast Retailing Co., the operator of Uniqlo stores, started the battle in March with pairs at $11.

“Japanese domestic demand is still dependent on price declines to grow,” said Naomi Fink, a strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.

Good News For Turkey Buyers

In the US, Thanksgiving Dinner Costs Less to Make This Year.

Families can anticipate the biggest decline in the cost of preparing Thanksgiving dinner since 2000, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

This year’s survey, released yesterday, put the cost of feeding 10 people at $42.91. The grocery bill fell 3.8 percent, the steepest reduction since its 4.3 percent drop at the start of this decade. The slump was also the first since 2004.

Milk dropped the most out of a dozen items surveyed, according to the bureau. The cost of a gallon of whole milk fell 92 cents to $2.86. Turkey slid 44 cents to $18.65, based on the cost of a 16-pound bird.

I am not sure where these clowns shop but turkey (at least a frozen one) should cost well under $1 a pound.

CheapoLife reports Safeway Best Price Sale Deals – November 11-17, 2009

Safeway comes through with some of the lowest prices for your Thanksgiving Day dinner this year!

Safeway frozen turkey, Grade A, up to 16 pounds, $5.88 with $10 additional purchase.

Safeway boneless, skinless chicken breast, $1.99 per pound.

Rancher’s Reserve boneless beef top round London broil, $1.88 per pound.

Jumbo raw shrimp, 21-25 count per pound, sold in a 2 pound bag at $4.99 per pound.

A 16 pound turkey for $5.88 = 37 cents a pound. At that price, buy buy several and freeze them. Have one at Thanksgiving, one at Christmas and have an Easter turkey instead of an Easter ham.

Can they even raise a 16 lb turkey, clean it, wrap it, freeze it, ship it, and stock it for $5.88? I highly doubt it. Farmers are probably buying turkeys at that price.

What a deal. Unfortunately, it looks like that deal has expired. Nonetheless, if you are paying more than $.79 a pound or so, you are paying way too much.

Notice how Japan is concerned about falling prices on jeans and other things. The Japanese government has blown trillions over the years attempting to prop up prices. As a result, debt is now approaching 200% of GDP. The Yen will implode if Japan keeps this up.

Attempting to force up prices while unemployment is high and rising is pure insanity. Sadly the US is making exactly the same mistake.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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