Japan's inflation hits 3-month high

Japan's annual inflation rate surged to 3.3% in October 2023

By Ahmed Azzam | @3zzamous | 24 November 2023

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  • Japan's Inflation Hits 3.3%, highest in 3 months

  • Japan's core Inflation at 2.9%

  • WTI at $76 amid OPEC+ disputes

Japan's Inflation Accelerates to a 3-Month High

In a notable uptick, Japan's annual inflation rate surged to 3.3% in October 2023, marking a significant increase from the preceding month's 3.0%. This data reveals the highest inflationary print since July, signifying a potential shift in the country's economic landscape. Core inflation, a key metric closely monitored by analysts, experienced a modest uptick to 2.9% from September's 13-month low of 2.8%, although it slightly undershot the consensus estimate of 3.0%. Impressively, this places core inflation outside the ambit of the Bank of Japan's 2% target for the 19th consecutive month.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices exhibited a noteworthy increase of 0.7%, the most substantial gain since April 2014, following a 0.3% uptick in September. This surge in consumer prices adds a layer of complexity to Japan's economic narrative, warranting attention from investors and policymakers alike.

Amid these developments, Japan's 10-year government bond yield experienced a resurgence, climbing above 0.75%. This rebound comes after a period of over two-month lows and introduces an element of renewed market dynamics. Investors are likely to closely monitor these inflationary trends and their potential implications on the broader economic landscape.

Oil prices grapple with OPEC-driven uncertainties

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures navigated heightened volatility, hovering above $76 per barrel on Friday. However, the market remained under pressure as a brewing dispute among OPEC+ members over output quotas cast a shadow on the global supply outlook. Wednesday witnessed a nearly 5% plunge in oil prices, a downturn that found partial correction after OPEC+ opted to reschedule its policy meeting to the end of the month. The delay comes in the wake of disputes over output quotas, particularly concerning African members such as Angola and Nigeria.

Analysts had initially speculated that the OPEC+ group might consider extending or deepening supply cuts to provide essential support to the market. However, the discord within the alliance has injected uncertainty, leaving the market in a state of flux. The supply dynamics are further complicated by signs of robust oil supplies emanating from non-OPEC countries.

In the United States, government data revealed a substantial increase in crude inventories, soaring by approximately 8.7 million barrels in the last week. This figure far exceeded expectations, which had anticipated a more moderate 1.16 million barrel increase. The oversupply conditions in the U.S., combined with the OPEC+ uncertainties, have contributed to the recent fluctuations in oil prices and underscore the delicate balance that energy markets currently navigate.