Abe readies $182 billion plan to boost the economy

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Abe readies $182 billion plan to boost the economy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is readying a $182 billion economic package this week in his latest bid to pull the economy out of deflation, but the new measures will not require the government to sell more debt.

The package, to be approved by Abe’s government today, will have a headline value of 18.6 trillion yen ($181.6 billion), people familiar with the process said yesterday.

That puts the overall package on a par with Abe’s 20 trillion yen burst of spending early this year as part of his campaign to end 15 years of falling prices and tepid growth.

But the bulk of the package includes loans from government-backed lenders and spending by local governments and corporations, the sources said. The headline figure usually announced by the Japanese government on economic measures often includes spending already committed, and tends to far exceed the amount of actual new government spending.

The long-expected core of the package will be spending measures Abe ordered in October to bolster the economy ahead of a national sales-tax increase in April, said the sources on condition of anonymity.

Government officials at the time said the main stimulus steps, to be approved on today, would be worth about 5 trillion yen. Sources said on Tuesday the stimulus will be between 5.4 trillion yen and 5.6 trillion yen.

This amount will not require new debt issuance as it will be covered by tax revenues that have exceeded initial budget projections due to the economic recovery, as well as using unspent funds from other accounts, the sources said.

Measures include steps intended to boost competitiveness; assist women, youth and the elderly; accelerate reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami; and build infrastructure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they said. Reuters

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