The JapanRealTime blog has a post up arguing that a significant portion of bad news in the GDP net negative trade figures arises from durable goods retailers having imported in the expectation of a rush to buy before the rise in the consumption tax on April 1.(Link)
If so, then figures to look at to answer the question "Is Abenomics a bust?" will be the monthly retail sales figures. If they do show tradeable durable goods flying out of the nation's showrooms these next two months, great. If not, then look out below -- especially since the alternate explanation, that Japanese consumers after 20 years of deflation are shrugging their shoulders at a sudden 3% increase in prices, is simply ridiculous.
If the data fails to shows retailers moving mountains of inventory, then we will not need to wait for the next GDP release to hit the panic button.
Let us all, Abenomics believers and skeptics alike, pray the retail figures show folks on a spending spree.
Of course, the heavy importation figures in 2013 Q4 could also have been done in anticipation of the yen falling further against major currencies -- a reasonable supposition that has just not panned out.
Of course, there are those who see a silver lining in every cloud -- such as today's lousy GDP figures pressuring the Bank of Japan to increase the pace of its radical easing measures, leaving cash lying around for the markets to sop up, making the Nikkei a buy. (Link)