1/20/2016, 9:17 AM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Japan boosts budget for welfare, farms

Lawmakers in Tokyo approved an extension to the state budget for the fiscal year through March on Wednesday, adding ¥3.32 trillion ($28.2 billion) in incentives in the areas of social services and agriculture competitiveness. Japan is trying to bolster its position in the implementation of last year's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as farmers may struggle with the burdens of cheaper shipments from overseas. The other segment is devised to help elderly people and maintain the working activities of their younger family members, in a situation where the country struggles with the effects of an aging population. The government will also support child care. With the policy concentrated on stimulating spending, funds were approved to strengthen reconstruction efforts in regions affected by the earthquake and tsunami from five years ago. The measures will be financed from tax income.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet aims to increase budget discipline and cap debt, but the current estimate of the primary deficit for 2020 is still high, even with the optimistic scenario of 3% growth, Nikkei reported, citing forecasts by the Ministry of Finance.

Shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were falling steadily in today's session, and the benchmark gauge settled at 3.71% in the red. The yen popped 2.64% against the New Zealand dollar, 1.41% versus the Australian dollar and 1.24% compared to the Canadian dollar (all 9:15 a.m. CET). It strengthened more than 0.7% against the United States dollar and the British pound.

Baha Breaking News (BBN) / IT