Japanese investors coming to Israel [pg. 18]

The turnaround in Japan's economy heralds the beginning of further improvements and a good time for Israeli financial institutions to invest in the "Land of the Rising Sun," according to Japanese experts, who predict the trends of increased investment and consumption and strong company balance sheets will continue. "The goal of our trip to Israel is to calm Israeli financial institutions, who might be nervous or sceptical about investing in the Japanese market," said Invesco Asset Management Japan's chief investment officer, Atsushi Kawakami. "After growing out of the bubble economy and the end of deflation, the Japanese economy has been experiencing a domestic demand-led recovery." A delegation of three senior investment specialists of Invesco arrived in Israel for the first time this week to meet with potential institutional investors in an effort to explain the true status of the Japanese economy. Excellence Nessuah Ltd. is allied with the Global Investment Management Company Invesco, which provides the Excellence Nessuah Mutual Fund. "Following Bachar capital market reforms, which promote institutions in their endeavor to increase international exposure, we have seen increased interest in Japanese products in 2005," said Simon Cowen, Regional Sales Manager at Invesco Asset Management. Kawakami said that increasing demand for Japanese produced goods, along with structural changes in the Japanese economy, would bring stable growth for the medium- to long-term. In the fourth quarter of 2005, Japan recorded 5.5 percent annualized gross domestic product growth - over four times as fast as US GDP growth - while staying close to a zero inflation rate. Invesco's head of Japan large-cap equity team, Kiyohide Nagata, said the structural changes, while reducing fixed costs had also driven improved company profitability, in particular, in the first quarter of this year. Kawakami added that another factor pushing Japanese markets higher was the resurgence of interest from international investors as 2005 saw the biggest inflow of foreign equities - $100 billion.