Thursday, July 31, 2014   




Sinking yen good news for Japan fans

Eddie Luk and Victor Cheung

Friday, February 08, 2013

With inflation ever-present and with workers complaining of minimal pay rises, it's nice to know that some things are cheaper - provided they are made in Japan.

With the yen falling rapidly against the US dollar, fruits, wheat, snacks and other goodies imported directly from Japan are now cheaper. What's more, a five-day trip to the Land of the Rising Sun is now HK$1,000 less, or a drop of 10 percent.

Hong Kong Retail Management Association chairwoman Caroline Mak Sui-king said local consumers can benefit from buying cheaper Japanese-made goods like fruits, food and clothing as the Hong Kong dollar has risen against the yen. However, Mak said the prices of some Japanese-brand electronic products like TVs and cameras might not drop as most of these products are made in Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

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Lam Wai-chun, chairman of CEC International Holdings and founder of 759 Store - which runs nearly 130 outlets selling Japanese food and drinks - said the prices of Japanese-made food products have dropped slightly because of the weakening yen.

"We have provided discounts to our customers so that they can buy Japanese products at lower prices," Lam said. "It also provides an opportunity for us to lure more customers to buy Japanese food and other products in our outlets."

Lam said the price of a five-pack bundle of Japanese instant noodles has been reduced from HK$39.90 to HK$35.

Travel agency EGL Tours executive director Steve Huen Kwok-chuen said group tours heading to Japan over the Lunar New Year are fully booked.

He also expects that the number of visitors joining Japan group tours in the latter half of February and March will increase because the price of a five-day tour to Tokyo will drop by about 10 percent to around HK$7,000 from HK$8,000.

The yen has depreciated by 15 percent since November when the market tipped Shinzo Abe to regain the premiership and implement more aggressive monetary easing policies.

It breached the 94 mark against the greenback recently and 100 yen is now worth just HK$8.25, compared with more than HK$10 a few months ago.

Ronald Ip Kim-hung, director for wealth solutions group global market at HSBC, said the yen is close to a short-term bottom as the sharp drop has already attracted worries from Japan's trading partner, especially the euro zone.


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