The Japanese Economy and the Forex Market

A huge earthquake recently hit Japan. The already stagnating economy of the Far Eastern ex-powerhouse country is facing major challenges. How will this country and its forex market perform? Below is an insider view.Further adverse effects on the Japanese economy seem inevitable from these earthquake-related damages in addition to the financial problems to which Japan has already faced. Many foreign experts have expressed pessimistic opinions that self-recovery of Japanese economy is unlikely. At the same time, Barron has expressed a bullish view of its economy and certain stocks. Is the recovery of Japanese economy hopeless? Did Japanese yen become a currency that would not be worth investing?Let us, first, analyze the commentaries of overseas expert on Japanese economy right after the earthquake, they all are pessimistic, such as Japanese economy would not be recovered as strong as before any more, or Japanese yen should not be bought, but should be sold.Nobody would be able to deny the negative effects from the earthquake, the tsunami, radio contamination from the nuclear plant accident, and the electricity shortage in the greater Tokyo area. However, the opinions, such as hyper-inflation would occur due to excessive issue of national bonds, energy of the recovery would not be strong due to Japanese population aging, or human resources escaping from Japan to foreign countries, are the science-fiction-like imaginations, rather than economic analysis.Those who imagine would have their freedom, but they would underestimate the power of Japan, an advanced country, whose living standard and education level are high. Japan has been and still is economic power whose expertise is high-tech with many experienced and skillful expert human resources. Japanese foreign currency reserve should not be also ignored.There are reasons to believe that the Japanese economy will recover from the damage stronger than ever and begin another period of growth. This is because:There is a unique cooperative relationship between the Japanese financial sector and industrial sector. One of the characteristics of the Japanese economy is that the financial sector and industrial sector have kept their cooperative relationship, established during the recovery from the first energy crisis in the 1970s. Although the stock market right after the oil crisis had dropped to be 3,355 yen on October 1974, the market recovered and marked high, 4,564 yen, on May 1975, seven months later than the steep drop. This unique system has worked to enable recovery from past difficulties as the oil crisis. It should work well for similar recovery from the current damage.
The world economy will not survive without the Japanese economy. The world has observed and recognized that components supplied by Japan, in fields such as automotive and electronics, could not be replaced very easily. American research institute, HIS Automotive reported on March 22, that due to short supply of auto parts from Japan, the production of automobiles worldwide would drop by 35%, equivalent to five million cars. In the electronics field, there was an announcement that one-fourth of silicon wafer supply was stopped because of the earthquake. Wall Street Journal on March 11 reported that Japanese share of the semiconductor market is 20.8%, and the share of electronics components is 13.9%. Therefore, the impact of the supply shortage by the earthquake on global electronics market shall not be underestimated. Japan is also an important market for exports from countries including China, the US, and many European nations. It is, therefore, useful for other countries to support the recovery of the Japanese economy.
The Japanese outlook is effective with regard to overcoming difficulties such as the current earthquake situation. Japan has overcome many difficult situations including oil crises, higher-yen-evaluation, and previous natural disasters like the Kobe earthquake. The Japanese people are skilled in scheduling recovery, and focusing on their individual roles, and will continue their efforts until they attain their goals. Many enterprises have already proved this point by quickly re-opening production after the earthquake. According to The Institute of Statistical Mathematics in Japan, in its regular report issued on every five years, the top image of Japanese characteristics is diligence. It has been diligence which recovered Japanese economy from various crisis in the past. There is no reason it does not work this time. It will work this time, as well.According to news sources from Japan, Japan has started to plan more than simple recovery from the damage. Tohoku District is planning to build a new city which is strong against natural disaster. Some of them have started drawing blue print to build new concept cities. Instead of plunging the Japanese economy, even this natural disaster would trigger the new recovery and growth of the economy of Japan.The Japanese Yen continues to be one of the major currencies on the forex market. However, the country and its economy have not been well understood by the outside world. This country has a history of recovering well from disasters. The people have inherited strength through their genes. The current situation will once again prove this to be true.

Automotive Marketing Research, Tips to Find the Best Firm

The automotive industry is growing at a rapid pace. The success of a product is directly proportional to the amount of research that has gone into making the product. Hence, automotive marketing research is integral to the entire process of product development and feedback. This type of research entails various specialized areas. That’s precisely where experienced research firms play a significant role starting right from the preliminary product design research stage.
Automobile events are a fertile ground to conduct research and empower you with information that will make your brand stronger. Automobile event research needs to be carefully carried out to get you the right results from live events. Let’s take a look at some specialized automotive marketing research areas:• Car clinics: Static automobile clinics are effective automotive marketing research tools that help in new product development and feedback. It is advisable to choose a firm that can conduct clinics of all sizes with the number of vehicles ranging from 1-2 to as many as 90 or more if so required. The research firm in questions should be able to handle a large number of respondents across multiple cities. The use of hand-held, touch screen computers makes data easy to collect, process, analyze and integrate.• Drive clinics: There are different types of drive clinics such as Open Course Drive Clinics, Closed Course Drive Clinics and Motorcycle Ride Clinics that help to get realistic feedback about various aspects of driving a vehicle. A good research firm should be able to provide experienced, well-trained and flexible interviewers who can get maximum information from respondents while controlling a dynamic situation. Closed course drive clinics are an ideal way to get respondents to experience the exact same driving conditions across all drive vehicles. A closed course could include stadium parking lots, NASCAR tracks, road race courses, skid pads, drag strips, blocked off sections of public roadways, etc.• Auto show research: These events are among the most cost-effective ways to get customer feedback in a clinic-style setting. At such events, interviewers from a research firm conduct intercept interviews with event attendees. Automobile event research could include several different types of events such as auto shows, power sports events, vendor display and race events and enthusiast events. It is advisable to choose a research firm that has experience in conducting research across all of these events while employing randomized respondent selection techniques.So whether it is the initial product design research or final customer satisfaction research, it is advisable to find a firm that has experience in different facts of automotive marketing research.

Failure of the Automotive Industry – The Primary Reason

The US automotive industry suffered a fatal blow. Yet anyone who claims that the industry’s demise can be linked to a single root-cause of failure is sadly mistaken. I spent the greater portion of 10 years within that industry many of which in an executive or managerial role.Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet that caused the fall. I say unfortunately because a single cause of failure could be prevented in the future. In this case, the blame can be put only on the system as a whole making it difficult to protect against a repeat occurrence.What the automotive industry suffered was a catastrophic failure caused by multiple points of failure. We’re talking systemic failure in its truest form. As an insider in the industry, I can personally attest to some of the actions (or lack thereof) that pushed the industry to a collapse.One of the biggest gremlins that undermined the industry was a myopic focus on piece price (cost). Over the years the automobile manufacturers became totally engulfed in driving (no pun intended) suppliers to lower sell prices in an attempt to reduce the production cost of a car or truck and therefore increase the bottom line.This shortsighted focus on lower piece cost was so strong that supplier relationships were sacrificed. In fact, one of the Big 3 automotive companies believed that if one supplier went under that another would always step up. How is that for arrogant?The pressure for lower piece cost was so extreme that suppliers were forced to seek low-cost countries for the procurement of parts and for their own manufacturing processes. On the surface this approach may seem logical. However, what was lacking was a holistic view of the situation to see that lower piece price demands were leading to other systemic issues:Reduced quality and increased life-cycle costs due to overseas outsourcingSuboptimal designs because of shortcuts to reduce costsJobs being pushed out of the USCollapse of solid, reputable suppliersTarnished relationships with the legacy supply baseThe situation went as far as the automotive manufacturers demanding payments from suppliers to maintain current business or to be awarded new business. These payments were commonly known in industry as “givebacks”. These givebacks started as checks that were written for absurd amounts of money and then changed into piece price concessions over the length of a given contract (the SEC wouldn’t necessary like the check approach, i.e. buying business).Business is about more than just the bottom line. The way in which you go about producing profit makes a difference. Our friends in the automotive industry learned the hard way that relying upon myopic, dictatorial and selfishly driven profits at the expense of your suppliers and customers is not sustainable.