Japanese Sales Tax to Rise 60% Percent as Planned (CNBC)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan reaffirmed his government’s position that the country’s sales tax will increase from 5 to 8 percent, beginning next April. Honorable Abe remains steadfast in his belief that this 60 percent increase is critical in helping Japan rein in soaring debt levels. The country’s gross public debt is estimated to reach 245 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 — the highest in the world. Along with the tax hike, Shinzo is expected to launch an economic stimulus package — and could institute corporate tax cuts. Investors backed the decision by sending both Japanese stocks and the dollar-yen exchange rate higher.
The U.S. government couldn’t come to a last-minute emergency funding agreement before the midnight deadline last night, stopping nearly a million federal employees from reporting to work today. Investment-wise, the biggest loser from the first government shutdown in 17 years was the U.S. dollar.
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