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Investing in Japan’s bright spots: Tourism and batteries

Aug 30, 2023

We see opportunities in select sectors, but we do not expect Japan’s stock market to boom or its bond yields to increase dramatically.

Joe Seydl, Senior Markets Economist

Ian Schaeffer, Global Investment Strategist

When we think about investing in Japan these days, we see two new tactical opportunities worth exploring: in-bound tourism and the island’s battery industry. But we do not believe the country’s bond yields or its stock market will rise as much as others currently do.

Tourism in Japan is surging and has the potential to boom—thanks in large part to a relatively inexpensive yen, pent-up demand and the world’s “post-pandemic” travel spree. Another potential bright spot: The country’s battery and mineral producers could benefit from new U.S. legislation that incentivizes a transition to “clean” energy.

Of course, we’re also watching the big picture—and are struck by how fretful some investors now are about Japan’s bonds and excited about its equities:

  • Some bond investors are concerned by the rise in longer-term Japanese government bond (JGB) yields. The fear is that—if Japan’s bond yields rise a lot more—Japanese bond investors could be diverted to their domestic market and away from their historic role as outsized buyers of other nations’ bonds, which could hurt the bond markets globally. 

  • Many equity investors are increasingly optimistic about Japan’s stock market. Over the last year, Japanese equities have been outperforming U.S. equities. Some of the most exuberant investors now expect a rising sun for Japanese equities, postulating that Japan’s deflation problem has been solved at long last and a new secular bull market for Japanese stocks is dawning.

Both camps should moderate their outlooks. We don’t think JGB yields are likely to increase enough to shock global bond markets (our managed portfolios have only a moderate allocation to JGBs). We also believe secularly weak domestic demand in Japan is likely to continue to drag on the country’s stock market generally (our managed portfolios have a neutral allocation to Japanese stocks.)

For now, our expectations are more enthusiastic for tactical investments in Japanese tourism and batteries. 

Here’s a closer look at our thinking:

Tourism in Japan is rebounding—and has room to run

Only recently did Japan start welcoming world travelers back again. It wasn’t until May 2023 that the Japanese authorities downgraded the health risk from COVID-19 to that of a typical seasonal influenza.

Japan’s reopening, coupled with a relatively inexpensive yen, is helping inbound tourism surge. Official data on inbound international airport passenger traffic is available with a lag. We also examined J.P. Morgan Private Bank card spending data to track tourism trends through June. Both indicators show a sharp uptick, but our card data, based on local restaurant spending in Japan, shows a greater surge and suggests rapid growth may continue in the coming months.

Suddenly, foreign travelers are visiting Japan again

Sources: J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Japan Airport Terminal Co., Narita Int’l Airport Corp. Data as of June 30, 2023. Note: For international passenger traffic, we are considering traffic through Narita and Haneda Airports. The lines consider April of each year, and the dot is based on June of each year to remove seasonal distortions.
The chart describes the indexed levels of JPM card unique spenders (restaurants), and international airport passenger traffic through Narita and Haneda Airports. Both lines are indexed at 100 for 2019. For the JPM card unique spenders (restaurants) line, the first data point came in at 100 in April 2019. Then it dropped dramatically to 8.1 in April 2020. It stayed low until it bottomed at 3.8 in April 2022. It then bounced back to 124.2 in April 2023. There is also a diamond at the top right corner showing the JPM Card Unique Spenders (restaurants) data in June 2023, which hit 141.7. For the international airport passenger traffic line, the first data point came in at 100 in April 2019. It reached a trough at 1.3 in April 2020. It stayed low until it got to 7.9 in April 2022. It bounced up and ended at 86.0 in April 2023.

Investors might consider a range of tourism-related stocks in Japan—from some of the largest including airline companies to others, such as major shopping entertainment venues.

Making the investment attractive: Tourism stocks in Japan are generally undervalued these days. Even though Japanese tourism stocks have risen by about 15% YTD, this solid performance still lags the broader market (Topix).1 From a valuation perspective, tourism stocks in Japan are valued more attractively than they were before the pandemic, at about a 2% discount (considering the forward price-book differential versus Topix).

The potential for growth is promising, with many more visitors possible from both China and the United States.

Japan’s current rebound in tourism spending has been happening largely without a meaningful influx of Chinese tourists, as Japan and China have been at an impasse this year over both nations’ visa restrictions. However, discussions are seeking to establish a mutual visa exemption system that could boost Chinese tourism spending in Japan.2

Meanwhile, Americans are on the move–with a record number intending to travel overseas soon. According to the U.S. Consumer Confidence data from the Conference Board, Americans’ stated intention to travel to foreign lands is at the highest level ever recorded (and the data goes back to the late-1960s).3

Moreover, many Americans might be lured to Japan, given how strong the U.S. dollar currently is against the yen. Considering data back to 1972, the yen is currently about 1.4 standard deviations undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar.

Americans who say they intend to visit a foreign country is at the highest level on record

Vacation Intended Within 6 Months: Foreign Country (% Respondents, Seasonally Adjusted) 6-month moving average

Sources: The Conference Board, Haver Analytics. Data as of June 30, 2023.
This chart describes the 6-month moving average of the % of respondents that, within 6 months, intended vacation to a foreign country. The first data point came in at 7.4% in June 1967. It soon dropped and bottomed at 2.9% in January 1969. Then it went up and reached a local peak at 13.2% in September 1988. It then went fluctuating near the same level until it hit 13.5% in March 2020. It then declined dramatically to 6.1% in August 2020. Then it went all the way up until the last data point at 18.5% in June 2023..

The yen has weakened dramatically against the USD

Z-score of the yen/USD nominal exchange rate

Sources: Bruegel, Haver Analytics. Data as of June 13, 2023.
The chart describes the z-score of the yen/USD nominal exchange rate. The first data point came in at -1.2 in January 1972. Then it went up and peaked at 1.7 in October 1978. After which it declined and bottomed at -2.0 in March 1985. Then it climbed up and went to another high at 2.6 in April 1995. Shortly after, it quickly dropped and went to a low at -1.3 in August 1998. Then it went up again and peaked at 3.2 in August 2011. At the end, it went down again, and the last data point came in at -1.4 in May 2023.

Japan’s battery sector could benefit from the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act

This March, the United States signed a free trade agreement with Japan, focused on critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, manganese and graphite. This agreement came on the back of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law in August 2022.

As we discussed in a recent article, a major bottleneck to the U.S. energy transition is the sourcing of critical minerals, of which China has a dominant market share globally. Moreover, built into the IRA is a commitment to increase the U.S. supply of critical minerals; subsidies are available when minerals are mined or refined in a country with which the United States has a free trade agreement (that does not include China).

Japan fits the bill extremely well. After China, Japan is the second-largest producer of synthetic graphite in the world. Synthetic graphite is widely used in lithium-ion batteries as anode material (where energy in a battery is stored and discharged). To be sure, some battery producers are experimenting with next-generation technologies that do not use synthetic graphite; however, the scaling of next-generation anodes in production might be at least a decade away.4 For now, Japan’s synthetic graphite industry stands to benefit from the IRA as the logical substitute for Chinese production.

Japan is the world’s second-largest producer of a critical material used to store energy in batteries

Source: J.P. Morgan Asia Energy Research. Data as of December 31, 2022.
The chart is a bar chart that describes six countries’ 2022 production of global synthetic graphite in kilo tonnes per annum (ktpa). Ranked from the lowest (top) to the highest (bottom) Norway: 0.1 Poland: 2.0 US: 2.2 S Korea: 5.0 Japan: 46.2 China: 654.0

Investors should consider Japanese mineral producers (of synthetic graphite), as well as Japanese battery producers—especially those that have a manufacturing presence in the United States (which allows them to take advantage of IRA tax credits that are expected to help boost profitability).

Investors also might look at companies that are currently building and/or expecting to build plants in the United States. When considering such an investment, look at the company’s earnings guidance to see if it is factoring in expected profitability boosts from IRA subsidies.

Even as investors might find some real opportunities in Japan’s tourism and battery sectors, we’d caution against exaggerative narratives about Japan’s stock and bond markets more broadly.

See the full picture for Japan’s bond market and buyers    

Yes, JBG yields have recently risen and could go a bit higher—but we think the increase is likely to be limited, and we don’t foresee it creating a global domino effect.

In late July, Japan’s central bank made a major change to its seven-year-old policy of yield curve control (YCC) that kept rates within half a percentage point above or below zero. Last year, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) had committed to defend the rate cap of 0.5% with unlimited bond buying. But in July 2023, the BoJ switched from that rigid limit, indicating it is comfortable with yields of up to 1% (the new hard cap).

On this news, JGB yields rose about 20 basis points (bps) to 0.65%—the highest level since 2014, when YCC began. This jump spurred global bond yields to move higher; the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose about 25 bps over the same time period (at the end of July/early August) to 4.15%. The reason: It was thought that higher yields at home might cut into Japanese investors’ longstanding appetite for U.S. Treasury bonds.

Global bond investors worry this ripple effect may just be getting started if YCC is not just loosened but eventually abandoned altogether. Japanese domestic investors hold a large share of international debt securities. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Japanese investors held 13.6% of U.S. long-term bonds and 8.5% of global bonds in 2021.5 The concern is that as JGB yields rise, it could become more attractive for Japanese investors to buy domestic fixed income securities rather than international securities.

Japanese investors own an outsized portion of the world’s bond markets

Sources: IMF CPIS, Haver Analytics. Data as of 2021.
The chart is a bar chart that describes the % of the world and six countries’ total outstanding long-term debt owned by Japanese bond investors. It’s ranked from the highest (left) to the lowest (right). Australia: 21.4% United States: 13.6% France: 10.5% World: 8.5% Italy: 7.6% Canada: 5.6% United Kingdom: 5.5%

But we believe two key points should temper this fear:

1. It hasn’t been attractive for a while for domestic Japanese investors to buy international bonds. Since about late 2021, when you include the cost for converting currencies and hedging the exposure, domestic JGBs have offered Japan-based investors 40 bps more in yield than U.S. Treasuries.

Attractive domestic yields in Japan are not a new development

Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P. Data as of August 4, 2023. Note: This is a comparison of 10-yr JGBs versus 10-yr currency hedged USTs.
The chart describes the yield pickup for domestic JGBs over hedged U.S. Treasury bonds (bps). The first data point came in at 38.8 in November 2021. It went up and peaked at 68.1 in July 2022. Then it went all the way down and bottomed at -16.4 in January 2023. Then it came back up and ended the series at 41.1 in August 2023.
2. We believe the scope is limited for significantly higher JGB yields. To be sure, core inflation in Japan has picked up, to about 2.5%.6 That’s a milder problem than the Federal Reserve’s or European Central Bank’s. But—and we see this as an important difference—in our view, Japan’s inflation pickup is mostly externally driven. Japan’s economy was hit by a large terms-of-trade shock in 2022: Import prices soared relative to export prices, which was the primary shock that got inflation going.

Inflation picked up first in the United States, then in Europe, then in Japan

Sources: Statistical Office of the European Communities, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Bureau of Labour Statistics, Haver Analytics. Data as of July 31, 2023. Note: These are the harmonized core inflation metrics.
The chart describes the YoY % Change of Core CPI for Europe, Japan, and the U.S. For the Europe line, the first data point came in at 1.1% in January 2018. Then it went relatively flat and went slightly lower to 0.4% in December 2020. Then it climbed all the way with the last data point at 5.7% in June 2023. For the Japan line, the first data point came in at 0% in January 2018. Then it was relatively flat and trending lower until it bottomed at -1.9% in January 2022. Then it climbed all the way with the last data point at 2.6% in June 2023. For the U.S. line, the first data point came in at 1.9% in January 2018. Then it was relatively flat and went lower to 1.2% in June 2020. Then it started climbing and peaked at 6.6% in September 2022. At the end, it went down slightly and ended at 4.7% in July 2023.

Why has Japan’s economy become vulnerable to externally driven inflation?

Japan became a major oil and gas importer when public opinion turned against nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Among the major nations, Japan now runs the largest energy trade deficit. This is the context in which the 2022 global energy price spike hit the Japanese economy hard.

Energy trade balances across the world

Sources: Enerdata, United Nations. Data as of December 31, 2022.
The chart is a bar chart that describes the mega tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) per million residents in 2022 for 11 countries. The 11 bars (for 11 countries) are ranked from the lowest (left) to the highest (right). Japan: -2.90 Germany: -2.30 Italy: -2.03 France: -1.79 UK: -0.89 China: -0.55 India: -0.26 Brazil: 0.10 US: 0.41 Russia: 4.15 Canada: 6.71

The deterioration of Japan’s real wages also indicates that external forces are driving the country’s inflation. Real wages (i.e., wages adjusted for inflation) are down by more than 5% from Q4 2019 to Q2 2023. In contrast, real wages in the United States are up nearly 3% over the same period.

Another important comparative point: the United States used fiscal policy to stimulate its household sector much more than Japan did. Subsequently, U.S. domestic demand has greatly outperformed Japan’s (in USD terms).

Unlike the United States, Japan did not use fiscal policy to stimulate consumer spending

General Government Social Transfers to Households (% of GDP)

Sources: European Commission, Haver Analytics. Data as of May 31, 2023. Note: It excludes in-kind transfers.
The line chart describes the general government social transfers to households as a % of GDP for Japan and U.S. For the Japan line, the first data point came in at 12.4% in 2015. It stayed relatively flat while going slightly up to peak at 13.2% in 2022. The last data point came in slightly lower at 12.4% in 2023. For the U.S. line, the first data point came in at 14.6% in 2015. It went flat and got to 14.6% again in 2019. Then it quickly skyrocketed to 20.0% in 2020. The elevated level persisted in 2021 as the data came in at 19.6%. Soon after it dropped and hit 15.2% in 2022. The last data point came in at 15.0% in 2023.

Domestic demand in Japan continues to trail that in the United States

Gross Domestic Demand (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate, Trillions USD)

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Cabinet Office of Japan, Haver Analytics. Data as of August 14, 2023.
The chart describes the gross domestic demand in Trillion USD for U.S. and Japan. For the U.S. line, it started at 2815.7 in March 1980. Then it went all the way up for nearly the entire series. The last data point came in at 27610.2 in June 2023. For the Japan line, it started at 1024.4 in March 1980. It went up and hit the peak at 6052.9 in June 1995. It then went down afterwards and got to a lower point at 3745.4 in September 1998. Then it went up again and peaked at 6548.9 in December 2011. Then it declined and the last data point came in at 4346.9 in June 2023.

We believe that because the BoJ understands these dynamics well, it is in no rush to tighten monetary policy to quell externally generated inflation. At the latest monetary policy meeting in July, BoJ Governor Kazuo Ueda went out of his way to stress that allowing JGB yields to rise above 0.5% should be seen as “enhancing the sustainability of monetary easing rather than tightening.”

Markets have gotten the message. Even after the BoJ’s YCC tweak, the yield differential between the United States and Japan is still historically wide (and the same is true for forward interest rate contracts). The BoJ is remaining accommodative, which should keep the yen relatively inexpensive so as to boost growth (in tourism and exports) and counteract weak domestic demand.

So fears about bonds getting hit globally, catalyzed by Japan? We think that’s unlikely. We wouldn’t be surprised to see JGB yields drift up toward 1% over the next couple of months or quarters; after all, markets historically have tended to challenge the caps central banks set. But as the external inflation shock eventually fades, the underlying driver of weak domestic demand in Japan (amid challenging demographics) should reassert itself.7

Even after the BoJ’s YCC tweak, the yields spread between the United States and Japan is still wide

Sources: Tullett Prebon Information, Haver Analytics, Bloomberg Finance L.P. Data as of July 31, 2023.
The chart describes the 10-year Treasury Bond yield & the 10-year forward rate path for U.S. and Japan. For the U.S. 10-year treasury bond yield, the first data point came in at 4.98% in April 2006. It went down until the trough at 1.36% in July 2016. It then went up to another peak at 3.23% in October 2018. Then quickly after it went down to bottom at 0.53% in July 2020. Then it bounced all the way back until the last data point that came in at 3.98% in July 2023. For the U.S. 10-year forward rate path, the first data point came in at 3.97% in August 2023. Then it’s projected to slightly decline to 3.86% in July 2025. Then from there it’s projected to trend upward to the last projected data point at 4.12% in July 2028. For the Japan 10-year treasury bond yield, the first data point came in at 1.88% in April 2006. It went down and bottomed at -0.29% in July 2016. Then it fluctuated and went higher to 0.13% in September 2018. Then it went back down to another low at -0.28% in August 2019. Later it rose and went all the way up until the last data point at 0.55% in July 2023. For the Japan 10-year forward rate path, the first data point came in at 0.55% in August 2023. It went up in the entire projection until the last data point at 1.23% in July 2028.

Don’t expect a secular bull market for Japanese equities anytime soon

According to J.P. Morgan Research, global investors have been structurally underweight Japanese stocks since 2002.8 We believe this structural underweight won’t be closed until there are clearer signs that domestic demand in Japan is improving, and that inflation is rising for the right reasons. The same differential we showed above between domestic demand in Japan and that in the United States (in USD terms) has over the long run tracked relative equity market performances.

Japan’s long-term stock market underperformance is tied to the economy’s weak domestic demand

Sources: Nihon Keizai Shinbun (Nikkei), World Federation of Exchanges, Cabinet Office of Japan, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Haver Analytics. Data as of June 30, 2023. Note: All series are in USD.
The chart describes the market cap and domestic demand differentials (Japan as a % of the U.S.) For the Japan total equity market cap as a % of U.S. total equity market cap line, the first data point came in at 0.64 in March 1992. Then quickly after it went to peak at 0.88 in June 1994. Shortly after it went all the way down to bottom at 0.21 in June 1998. Then it has stayed low until the last data point at 0.24 in June 2023. For the Japan domestic demand as a % of U.S. domestic demand line, the first data point came in at 0.60 in March 1992. Then quickly after it went up to peak at 0.79 in June 1995. Then it went down all the way and got to 0.29 in June 2007. Soon after it went back up to 0.40 in December 2011. Then it went all the way down to get to the last data point at 0.16 in June 2023.

In our managed portfolios, we are currently neutral in our allocation to the Japanese stock market. We are taking this position, despite a weak demand backdrop in Japan, because:

  • Japan (like Europe) offers international exposure relatively inexpensively, serving as a diversifier to U.S. stocks, which have become pricier YTD. On a forward price-earnings basis, Japanese stocks trade about 1.2 standard deviations undervalued relative to U.S. equities.9
  • Japanese listed companies serve primarily a domestic market, unlike the European market in which its investors are more susceptible to global risks (and rewards). The foreign revenue exposure of the Topix is just under 35%, while it’s 30% for the S&P 500. But for the STOXX Europe 600, it’s over 50%. In the period of hyper-globalization from the late 1990s through the 2000s, this exposure worked to the benefit of risk assets in Europe. But now, de-globalization risks are elevated, and we think competition from China climbing up the manufacturing value chain likely poses a greater risk to Europe than it does to Japan.

    Already we have seen Germany’s trade surplus in autos fall from around 15% of GDP in 2016 to just over 11% today. Meanwhile, China’s trade surplus in autos has soared. For the first time ever, in Q2 of this year, China’s auto trade balance with the European Union flipped from deficit into surplus.

Japan’s stock market is not as internationalized as Europe’s (so Japan is less exposed to de-globalization risks)

Sources: FactSet, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Data as of December 31, 2022. Index definitions are listed in the disclaimers below. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
The chart is a bar chart that describes the foreign revenue exposure (%) for S&P 500, TOPIX, and STOXX 600 (5-year average from 2018 to 2022). S&P 500: 30.0% TOPIX: 34.7% STOXX 600: 51.0%
  • The Japanese stock market provides a “value” factor tilt that, we believe, is underappreciated. Many investors currently feel overexposed to the growth factor (due to the exceptional rise of mega-cap tech stocks). But in Japan, growth stocks have underperformed value. Indeed, since 1995, value has outperformed growth by 120% in Japan, and we expect this trend to continue. Meanwhile, in the United States and Europe value has underperformed growth by 53% and 7%, respectively.

    Famed value investor Warren Buffett has noticed. He recently upped his stake in the Japanese equity market, raising Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings in Japan’s five main trading companies to 8.5%, from 5% in 2020.10 Berkshire also has signaled its intention to raise that stake to 9.9%, the upper limit beyond which would require specific approval from Berkshire’s board of directors.11

Unlike the United States and European Union, value stocks in Japan have outperformed growth since 1995

Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P. Data as of July 6, 2023. Note: These are the ratio of total return indexes.
The chart describes the MSCI Value indices/ MSCI Growth indices (U.S., Japan, Europe) (1995=100). For the U.S. value/growth line, it started at 100 in June 1995. Shortly after, it went down and found its trough at 59.41 in February 2000. Then it bounced back and ran high to 111.25 in April 2007. Then it started going down and declined all the way until the last data point that came in at 46.59 in July 2023. For the Japan value/growth line, it started at 100 in June 1995. It trended upward until it peaked at 260.05 in April 2009. It went all the way down until it bottomed at 151.94 in November 2020. Then soon it went back up and ended at 219.45 in July 2023. For the Europe value/growth line, it started at 100 in June 1995. Shortly after, it went up and peaked at 171.46 in October 2006. Then it declined all the way and bottomed at 77.98 in October 2020. Then it bounced back slightly and ended at 92.39 in June 2023.
  • Corporate governance reforms that seem to be underway might have the potential to enhance shareholder returns. 
    Return on equity (RoE) measures have been chronically low in Japan compared to the United States and Europe, which has coincided with Japanese companies hoarding cash (equal to 17% of the Topix index market cap, versus 4.5% for the S&P 50012). Governance reforms were a key pillar of “Abenomics” (named after the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) dating back to 2014, but progress has been slow.

    However, notably, earlier this year the Tokyo Stock Exchange demanded listed companies to investigate low RoEs and asked them to address weak capital profitability with an analysis, including targets, timelines and measures to improve their returns on capital and market valuations.13 

    Citi Research has done an analysis estimating the RoE lift then could come from less cash holding and greater shareholder prioritization among Japanese corporates. The conclusion: If Topix cash levels were reduced to the level of the S&P 500, and cross shareholding in Japan were reduced by 50%,14 it would lift the RoE of the Topix by nearly two percentage points to 11%.15

RoE levels have been secularly low in Japan

Sources: FactSet. Data as of July 31, 2023.
The chart describes the 12-months forward rolling return on equity measures (%). For the S&P 500 line, the first data point came in at 17.36% in January 2006. It stayed flat until it suddenly dropped to 12.37% in January 2009. Then it went up and reached a peak at 19.28% in October 2018. Then it went down slightly and eventually suddenly dropped again to 15.21% in April 2020. Shortly after it rose again to another high at 21.19% in August 2022. At the end, it ended a bit lower at 20.14% in July 2023. For the TOPIX line, the first data point came in at 9.78% in January 2006. It initially went down slightly but then suddenly dropped to 3.38% in April 2009. Then it went all the way up and reached a peak at 9.42% in October 2018. Then it dropped again to 6.49% in July 2020. Then it went up and stayed flat until the last data point that came in at 8.92% in July 2023. For the STOXX 600 line, the first data point came in at 16.36% in January 2006. It went flat and declined to 10.75% in May 2009. Then it went back up higher to 13.70% in February 2011. Then it went mostly flat until it suddenly dropped again to 8.77% in May 2020. Then it went back up and stabilized until the last data point that came in at 13.90% in July 2023.

We can help

To learn more—and to explore whether and how judicious investments in Japan might support your financial goals—speak with your J.P. Morgan team. 

1 Driven up by semiconductor stocks on the strength of global enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, the Topix is up 25% YTD (semiconductor stocks in Japan have risen 72%). Data as of August 2023.

2China Requested Japan Allow Visa Free Entry, Business Group Says,” Bloomberg News, July 6, 2023.

3 Data as of June 2023.

4 Evelina Stoikou, “Emerging Battery Technologies Hold Key to Next Wave of EVs: BNEF,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance, June 16, 2023.

5 IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey. Data as of 2021.

6 A caveat here is that core inflation has been held down this year to an extent by fiscal subsidies, specifically for household electricity and gas bills. These subsidies began in January of this year and are set to go through at least October, and likely have held core inflation down by about 100 bps in the YoY rate. See: Ayako Fujita, Benjamin Shatil and Yuka Mera, Japan 2023 Economic Outlook, J.P. Morgan Research, December 1, 2022.

7 We’ll be watching, most importantly, the real wage growth dynamics in Japan for signs that the BoJ’s policy normalization might become anything more than extremely gradual.

8 Rie Nishihara and Yong Guo, “Global investors’ Japanese stock positions: Will underweighting be resolved?,” J.P. Morgan, June 15, 2023.

9 Considering data back to 2005.

10 These five trading companies are: Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Sumitomo Corp. The phrase “trading company” is a bit of a misnomer here, as these companies have evolved from their historical roots of importing commodities and food into Japan. Today, they have built up business interests in everything from logistics to real estate, to finance, to aerospace. See: “What Warren Buffett is buying in Japan’s Berkshire Hathaway look-alikes,” CNBC, May 5, 2023. The percentages refer to Berkshire’s holdings of all the stocks issued by the Japanese trading companies (as opposed to the share of Berkshire’s total stock investments). Note: References to companies in this article are not intended as either recommendations nor endorsements by J.P. Morgan in this context.

11 "Buffett Boosts Stake in Japan Trading Companies as Shares Surge." Bloomberg Financial L.P., June 19, 2023. 

12 FactSet.

13Action to Implement Management that is Conscious of Cost of Capital and Stock Price,” Exchange & beyond, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc., March 31, 2023.

14 Cross shareholding refers to a business practice where two or more companies hold shares in each other’s stock. This may be done to establish strategic alliances and enhance mutual financial support. However, in Japan, cross shareholding was historically designed to insulate managements from any threat of a hostile takeover and to avoid rather than confer shareholder rights. Today, it is widely acknowledged that cross shareholding in Japan effectively weakens the urgency of corporate governance reforms and hinders the maximization of corporate value.

15 Ryota Sakagami and Ken Miyahara, “Japan’s corporate governance reforms now seeking real results,” Citi Research, May 11, 2023. 

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Key Risks

MSCI's Growth Target Indexes are designed to represent the performance of a strategy that seeks higher exposure to the Growth factor—relative to other factors from the relevant Barra Equity Risk Model with constrained ex-ante risk.

TOPIX also known as the Tokyo Stock Price Index, is a capitalization-weighted index of all companies listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

STOXX Europe 600 Index (SXXP Index): An index tracking 600 publicly traded companies based in one of 18 EU countries. The index includes small cap, medium cap and large cap companies. The countries represented in the index are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Standard and Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks. The index is designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

Equities

The price of equity securities may rise or fall due to the changes in the broad market or changes in a company's financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Equity securities are subject to "stock market risk" meaning that stock prices in general may decline over short or extended periods of time. Preferred investments share characteristics of both stocks and bonds. Preferred securities are typically long dated securities with call protection that fall in between debt and equity in the capital structure. Preferred securities carry various risks and considerations which include: concentration risk; interest rate risk; lower credit ratings than individual bonds; a lower claim to assets than a firm's individual bonds; higher yields due to these risk characteristics; and “callable” implications meaning the issuing company may redeem the stock at a certain price after a certain date. Small capitalization companies typically carry more risk than well-established "blue-chip" companies since smaller companies can carry a higher degree of market volatility than most large cap and/or blue-chip companies. Investment in alternative investment strategies is speculative, often involves a greater degree of risk than traditional investments including limited liquidity and limited transparency, among other factors and should only be considered by sophisticated investors with the financial capability to accept the loss of all or part of the assets devoted to such strategies.

Bonds

Bonds are subject to interest rate risk, credit and default risk of the issuer. Bond prices generally fall when interest rates rise.​

International Investments

International investments may not be suitable for all investors. International investing involves a greater degree of risk and increased volatility. Changes in currency exchange rates and differences in accounting and taxation policies outside the U.S. can raise or lower returns. Some overseas markets may not be as politically and economically stable as the United States and other nations. Investments in international markets can be more volatile.

This material is for informational purposes only, and may inform you of certain products and services offered by private banking businesses, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPM”). Products and services described, as well as associated fees, charges and interest rates, are subject to change in accordance with the applicable account agreements and may differ among geographic locations. Not all products and services are offered at all locations. If you are a person with a disability and need additional support accessing this material, please contact your J.P. Morgan team or email us at accessibility.support@jpmorgan.com for assistance. Please read all Important Information.

General Risks & Considerations

Any views, strategies or products discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all individuals and are subject to risks. Investors may get back less than they invested, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Asset allocation/diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Nothing in this material should be relied upon in isolation for the purpose of making an investment decision. You are urged to consider carefully whether the services, products, asset classes (e.g., equities, fixed income, alternative investments, commodities, etc.) or strategies discussed are suitable to your needs. You must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with an investment service, product or strategy prior to making an investment decision. For this and more complete information, including discussion of your goals/situation, contact your J.P. Morgan team.

Non-Reliance

Certain information contained in this material is believed to be reliable; however, JPM does not represent or warrant its accuracy, reliability or completeness, or accept any liability for any loss or damage (whether direct or indirect) arising out of the use of all or any part of this material. No representation or warranty should be made with regard to any computations, graphs, tables, diagrams or commentary in this material, which are provided for illustration/ reference purposes only. The views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed in this material constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. JPM assumes no duty to update any information in this material in the event that such information changes. Views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed herein may differ from those expressed by other areas of JPM, views expressed for other purposes or in other contexts, and this material should not be regarded as a research report. Any projected results and risks are based solely on hypothetical examples cited, and actual results and risks will vary depending on specific circumstances. Forward-looking statements should not be considered as guarantees or predictions of future events.

Nothing in this document shall be construed as giving rise to any duty of care owed to, or advisory relationship with, you or any third party. Nothing in this document shall be regarded as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or advice (whether financial, accounting, legal, tax or other) given by J.P. Morgan and/or its officers or employees, irrespective of whether or not such communication was given at your request. J.P. Morgan and its affiliates and employees do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any financial transactions.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INVESTMENTS AND POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Conflicts of interest will arise whenever JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or any of its affiliates (together, “J.P. Morgan”) have an actual or perceived economic or other incentive in its management of our clients’ portfolios to act in a way that benefits J.P. Morgan. Conflicts will result, for example (to the extent the following activities are permitted in your account): (1) when J.P. Morgan invests in an investment product, such as a mutual fund, structured product, separately managed account or hedge fund issued or managed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or an affiliate, such as J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.; (2) when a J.P. Morgan entity obtains services, including trade execution and trade clearing, from an affiliate; (3) when J.P. Morgan receives payment as a result of purchasing an investment product for a client’s account; or (4) when J.P. Morgan receives payment for providing services (including shareholder servicing, recordkeeping or custody) with respect to investment products purchased for a client’s portfolio. Other conflicts will result because of relationships that J.P. Morgan has with other clients or when J.P. Morgan acts for its own account.

Investment strategies are selected from both J.P. Morgan and third-party asset managers and are subject to a review process by our manager research teams. From this pool of strategies, our portfolio construction teams select those strategies we believe fit our asset allocation goals and forward-looking views in order to meet the portfolio’s investment objective.

As a general matter, we prefer J.P. Morgan managed strategies. We expect the proportion of J.P. Morgan managed strategies will be high (in fact, up to 100 percent) in strategies such as, for example, cash and high-quality fixed income, subject to applicable law and any account-specific considerations.

While our internally managed strategies generally align well with our forward-looking views, and we are familiar with the investment processes as well as the risk and compliance philosophy of the firm, it is important to note that J.P. Morgan receives more overall fees when internally managed strategies are included. We offer the option of choosing to exclude J.P. Morgan managed strategies (other than cash and liquidity products) in certain portfolios.

Legal Entity, Brand & Regulatory Information

In the United States, bank deposit accounts and related services, such as checking, savings and bank lending, are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and its affiliates (collectively “JPMCB”) offer investment products, which may include bank-managed investment accounts and custody, as part of its trust and fiduciary services. Other investment products and services, such as brokerage and advisory accounts, are offered through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”), a member of FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products are made available through Chase Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA), a licensed insurance agency, doing business as Chase Insurance Agency Services, Inc. in Florida. JPMCB, JPMS and CIA are affiliated companies under the common control of JPM. Products not available in all states.

In Germany, this material is issued by J.P. Morgan SE, with its registered office at Taunustor 1 (TaunusTurm), 60310 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB). In Luxembourg, this material is issued by J.P. Morgan SE—Luxembourg Branch, with registered office at European Bank and Business Centre, 6 route de Treves, L-2633, Senningerberg, Luxembourg, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—Luxembourg Branch is also supervised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF); registered under R.C.S Luxembourg B255938. In the United Kingdom, this material is issued by J.P. Morgan SE—London Branch, registered office at 25 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JP, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—London Branch is also supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. In Spain, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan SE, Sucursal en España, with registered office at Paseo de la Castellana, 31, 28046 Madrid, Spain, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE, Sucursal en España is also supervised by the Spanish Securities Market Commission (CNMV); registered with Bank of Spain as a branch of J.P. Morgan SE under code 1567. In Italy, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan SE—Milan Branch, with its registered office at Via Cordusio, n.3, Milan 20123, Italy, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—Milan Branch is also supervised by Bank of Italy and the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB); registered with Bank of Italy as a branch of J.P. Morgan SE under code 8076; Milan Chamber of Commerce Registered Number: REA MI 2536325. In the Netherlands, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan SE—Amsterdam Branch, with registered office at World Trade Centre, Tower B, Strawinskylaan 1135, 1077 XX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—Amsterdam Branch is also supervised by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM) in the Netherlands. Registered with the Kamer van Koophandel as a branch of J.P. Morgan SE under registration number 72610220. In Denmark, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan SE—Copenhagen Branch, filial af J.P. Morgan SE, Tyskland, with registered office at Kalvebod Brygge 39-41, 1560 København V, Denmark, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—Copenhagen Branch, filial af J.P. Morgan SE, Tyskland is also supervised by Finanstilsynet (Danish FSA) and is registered with Finanstilsynet as a branch of J.P. Morgan SE under code 29010. In Sweden, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan SE—Stockholm Bankfilial, with registered office at Hamngatan 15, Stockholm, 11147, Sweden, authorized by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) and jointly supervised by the BaFin, the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the European Central Bank (ECB); J.P. Morgan SE—Stockholm Bankfilial is also supervised by Finansinspektionen (Swedish FSA); registered with Finansinspektionen as a branch of J.P. Morgan SE. In France, this material is distributed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.—Paris Branch, registered office at 14, Place Vendome, Paris 75001, France, registered at the Registry of the Commercial Court of Paris under number 712 041 334 and licensed by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution (ACPR) and supervised by the ACPR and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers. In Switzerland, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan (Suisse) SA, with registered address at rue du Rhône, 35, 1204, Geneva, Switzerland, which is authorized and supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) as a bank and a securities dealer in Switzerland.

This communication is an advertisement for the purposes of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID II) and the Swiss Financial Services Act (FINSA). Investors should not subscribe for or purchase any financial instruments referred to in this advertisement except on the basis of information contained in any applicable legal documentation, which is or shall be made available in the relevant jurisdictions (as required).

In Hong Kong, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Hong Kong branch. JPMCB, Hong Kong branch is regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, we will cease to use your personal data for our marketing purposes without charge if you so request. In Singapore, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Singapore branch. JPMCB, Singapore branch is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Dealing and advisory services and discretionary investment management services are provided to you by JPMCB, Hong Kong/Singapore branch (as notified to you). Banking and custody services are provided to you by JPMCB Singapore Branch. The contents of this document have not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in Hong Kong, Singapore or any other jurisdictions. You are advised to exercise caution in relation to this document. If you are in any doubt about any of the contents of this document, you should obtain independent professional advice. For materials which constitute product advertisement under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act, this advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., a national banking association chartered under the laws of the United States, and as a body corporate, its shareholder’s liability is limited.

With respect to countries in Latin America, the distribution of this material may be restricted in certain jurisdictions. We may offer and/or sell to you securities or other financial instruments which may not be registered under, and are not the subject of a public offering under, the securities or other financial regulatory laws of your home country. Such securities or instruments are offered and/or sold to you on a private basis only. Any communication by us to you regarding such securities or instruments, including without limitation the delivery of a prospectus, term sheet or other offering document, is not intended by us as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or instruments in any jurisdiction in which such an offer or a solicitation is unlawful. Furthermore, such securities or instruments may be subject to certain regulatory and/or contractual restrictions on subsequent transfer by you, and you are solely responsible for ascertaining and complying with such restrictions. To the extent this content makes reference to a fund, the Fund may not be publicly offered in any Latin American country, without previous registration of such fund’s securities in compliance with the laws of the corresponding jurisdiction.

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMCBNA) (ABN 43 074 112 011/AFS Licence No: 238367) is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Material provided by JPMCBNA in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Please inform us if you are not a Wholesale Client now or if you cease to be a Wholesale Client at any time in the future.

JPMS is a registered foreign company (overseas) (ARBN 109293610) incorporated in Delaware, U.S.A. Under Australian financial services licensing requirements, carrying on a financial services business in Australia requires a financial service provider, such as J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), unless an exemption applies. JPMS is exempt from the requirement to hold an AFSL under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) in respect of financial services it provides to you, and is regulated by the SEC, FINRA and CFTC under U.S. laws, which differ from Australian laws. Material provided by JPMS in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. The information provided in this material is not intended to be, and must not be, distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons in Australia. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Act. Please inform us immediately if you are not a Wholesale Client now or if you cease to be a Wholesale Client at any time in the future.

This material has not been prepared specifically for Australian investors. It:

  • May contain references to dollar amounts which are not Australian dollars;
  • May contain financial information which is not prepared in accordance with Australian law or practices;
  • May not address risks associated with investment in foreign currency denominated investments; and
  • Does not address Australian tax issues.

References to “J.P. Morgan” are to JPM, its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. “J.P. Morgan Private Bank” is the brand name for the private banking business conducted by JPM. This material is intended for your personal use and should not be circulated to or used by any other person, or duplicated for non-personal use, without our permission. If you have any questions or no longer wish to receive these communications, please contact your J.P. Morgan team.

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JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and its affiliates (collectively "JPMCB") offer investment products, which may include bank-managed accounts and custody, as part of its trust and fiduciary services. Other investment products and services, such as brokerage and advisory accounts, are offered through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC ("JPMS"), a member of FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products are made available through Chase Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA), a licensed insurance agency, doing business as Chase Insurance Agency Services, Inc. in Florida. JPMCB, JPMS and CIA are affiliated companies under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Products not available in all states. Please read the Legal Disclaimer in conjunction with these pages.

INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: • NOT FDIC INSURED • NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY • NOT A DEPOSIT OR OTHER OBLIGATION OF, OR GUARANTEED BY, JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A. OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES • SUBJECT TO INVESTMENT RISKS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE LOSS OF THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT INVESTED

Bank deposit products, such as checking, savings and bank lending and related services are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Not a commitment to lend. All extensions of credit are subject to credit approval.