Americans now say they approve of free trade by 64%-27%, a margin of better than two to one. That's up from 57%-37% early in Trump's presidency, and 51%-41% near the end of...Politicsread more
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note briefly fell below the 2-year rate on Wednesday, a phenomenon in the bond market known as yield curve inversion, which is...Marketsread more
The MacBook Pro recall and its subsequent ban from flights underscores the increasing brand risk from problems with lithium-ion batteries.Technologyread more
Experts say the timing of Amazon executives' contributions to Rep. David Cicilline likely reflect the company's heightened urgency over growing regulatory scrutiny.Technologyread more
CNBC combed through Wall Street research to see which stocks are still a buy after their earnings reports.Marketsread more
Despite aggressive strides, Waymo needs one thing before their self-driving cars become a seriously useful transportation system: people. We talked to the ones closest to it.Technologyread more
Coinbase security chief Philip Martin explains, "Possession of a key is possession of your currency. What that means is that you can't revoke a cryptocurrency key, if that key...Technologyread more
Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos' accusations extended beyond GE's management to actuaries, auditors and analysts who he claims overlooked billions in liabilities.Marketsread more
The Supreme Court could strike down the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency Elizabeth Warren has likened to her child and which Justice...2020 Electionsread more
Bianco Research's James Bianco suggests Wall Street is desperately looking for a signal that a 50 basis point cut is coming next month.Trading Nationread more
The company's S-1 lays the groundwork for what is widely expected to be one of the largest initial public offerings of the year, second only to Uber's IPO in May. It's also...Technologyread more
Rising prices are forcing Japanese pensioners to reduce spending, undercutting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to boost economic growth and pay down the hefty public debt burden in one of the world's fastest aging nations.
"There is no solution to the structural problem: the government is running a huge budget deficit, but the only way to coax the elderly into spending more is by increasing public spending on them," said Dai-ichi Life Research Institute (DLRI) chief economist Hideo Kumano.
Japan limped out of a technical recession in the fourth quarter of 2014, but consumers are still struggling. A 3-percentage-point tax hike to 8 percent last April continues to weigh on consumption, while higher import prices have exacerbated the situation due to the yen's over 40 percent decline against the U.S. dollar since Abe's return to power.
In January, Japanese household spending fell 5.1 percent on month – its 10th consecutive decline, marking the longest losing streak since the global financial crisis. Meanwhile retail sales fell 2.0 percent – their first decline in 7 months.
The elderly are reducing spending the most.
"The average Japanese is suffering because of a weaker yen," said Keio Business School associate professor Seki Obata, but "pensioners are suffering the most from the rising prices because there is no prospects of their incomes rising."
No work, no spend
Whether a pensioner can afford to spend or has to cut back depends on their ability or willingness to work, according to according to DLRI's Kumano figures, citing government data.
The 37.8 percent of households with no income from paid work cut back spending by 1.5 percent in 2014 – and nearly all (95 percent) of these households are over 60 years old, according to DLRI's Kumano.
By contrast, the over-60 year olds that do have some income from work are happily parting with their money. Business owners, for example, spent 6.9 percent more on-year in 2014, while non-business owners with paid work increased spending by 1.8 percent.
One out of two Japanese men between 65 and 69 are in paid work, and a quarter of those over 70 do too. Around half of them are self-employed, according to government data.
More spend, more taxes
Still, they won't be able to work forever and Japan's population is set to age at a fiscally alarming pace.
Currently around a quarter of Japanese are over 65; by 2033, the proportion is set to rise to over 30 percent, according to government estimates.
That leaves the government in a bind, analysts say.
Raising taxes to care for the elderly depresses consumer spending and economic growth – but not raising taxes will only increase Japan's debt load, which at 231.9 percent of gross domestic product is among the highest in the world.
The April consumption tax hike was supposed to help pay for the rising social security costs of caring for the elderly, but it may not be enough. Yet economists warn that pushing ahead with a second hike in April 2017 – delayed from October 2015 as the first tax hike wreaked havoc on the economy – will only tip Japan back into recession.
Given how fragile the economic recovery is, "I don't think (Prime Minister) Abe will be able to raise the consumption tax," said Keio Business School's Obata. "What remains to be seen is whether he will concede he won't be able to reduce the budget deficit either."