Japan hits 7-year high on snap election speculation

There was some speculation overnight that Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will return from his overseas trip to APEC and G20, on the 17th November and announce a snap election, possibly on December 14th.  This would set in place a new 4-year term and it is widely expected that Abe would immediately push for a delay to the second scheduled rise in consumption tax next year, following the first rise from 5% to 8% in April which knocked GDP and consumer confidence.  Notwithstanding the fall in his popularity as a result, it is also a calculated gamble to capitalise on the opposition’s single digit ratings.  The Nikkei 225 share index rose sharply to a new 7-year high and closed at 17,197.05