January 12, Friday, 2024

1. Relief efforts continue following the massive New Year’s day earthquake in central Japan. At least 215 people now been confirmed dead and 38 are still unaccounted for. Officials in Ishikawa Prefecture are warning that worsening weather could threaten more lives. Some people have been able to return to hard-hit areas to survey the damage. A district in the town of Anamizu was home to about 40 shops. Many have collapsed or have been severely damaged.
2. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says the Bank of Japan should start gradually raising interest rates on the assumption that inflation will stabilize at around 2 percent. The OECD’s latest report on Japan’s economy notes that inflation has been above the BOJ’s target of 2 percent since April 2022.
3. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the listing and trading of exchange traded funds holding bitcoin. The SEC announced that it approved applications for a number of ETFs tracking bitcoin on Wednesday. Buyers of such funds can indirectly invest in bitcoin, without opening an account with a cryptocurrency trading platform.