Business Strategy and Outlook| Michael Makdad |
Mizuho Financial Group is one of Japan’s three largest banking groups, with a 7.2% share of domestic loans and 8.6% share of deposits as of March 2021. In Japan, the environment for banks has been tough for years and we expect it to remain so. The long-running deflationary environment in the country has led to persistently low demand for loans, with the loan/deposit ratio having declined from 74% in 2000 to around 57% at present. The liabilities/net assets ratio for Japan’s approximately 1 million business corporations declined from a highly leveraged 4 times in the mid-1990s to a reasonably healthy 126% in 2019 as borrowers prioritized paying down existing debt rather than taking out new loans for investment, but we are concerned that credit costs may increase in the early 2020s after many corporations increased their borrowing in 2020 and as the aftermath of the pandemic affects some firms' business models.