- The numbers: Ok. Profits rose 5.8% to 75.7 billion yen ($765 billion) in the three months ended in March—its fiscal fourth quarter—compared to the same period of the prior year. Sales rose 14% to 2.74 trillion yen. Shares moved higher.
- The takeaway: Honda stands to capitalize on the wave of central bank activism exerting its influence on the global economy. The sharp weakening of the yen in recent months—driven by the election new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the arrival of a more activist head of the Bank of Japan—helps make Honda’s cars, and all Japanese exports, cheaper for foreign buyers . Meanwhile, the low rate policy being pushed by Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve has pushed auto-loan rates lower and pulled in buyers. (North America is Honda’s largest market.) However, wholesale unit sales declined by 40,000 in North America compared to a giant fourth quarter of the previous year.
- What’s Interesting: Honda is bouncing back smartly from an especially tough couple of years during which it was buffeted by the Great East Japan Earthquake and a serious floods in Thailand that nearly submerged some of its plants and suppliers there . It also faced manmade tremors in the form of increased tensions with China over a territorial dispute—which may be in danger of flaring anew —that hampered sales what’s now the world’s largest vehicle market .
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