SHARES in Japanese TV maker Panasonic saw their highest increase in 38 years yesterday after a weak yen moved the company into an unexpected profit.
The shares rose 17 per cent in Tokyo until the rise was halted by Japan’s daily limit of a 100-yen price increase. In the run up to Japan’s December election, anticipation of a victory for Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democrat party sent the yen’s value tumbling, as Abe had promised to print money to boost inflation.
The weaker yen has provided a boost to struggling Japanese technology firms such as Sony and Sharp, which have suffered from lower demand for consumer electronics.
It has the effect of both making Japanese goods cheaper to foreign buyers and making TVs from rival manufacturers such as Samsung and LG relatively more expensive for Japanese consumers. The currency has fallen around 15 per cent against the dollar since November.
Panasonic’s net profit in 2012’s final quarter was ¥ 61.3bn (£420m), compared with a loss of ¥ 197.6bn in the same period last year, Panasonic announced after trading closed on Friday.
However, the company did not change its guidance for an annual loss of ¥ 765bn, saying that global demand for TVs remains weak.
The news from Panasonic also boosted Sony and Sharp yesterday, with their shares rise by 7.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively. Sony will reveal its figures later this week
Panasonic’s shares have fallen steadily since 2008.