Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Japan posts trade deficit as leading index falls

There was disappointing news on the Japanese economy on Monday.

Japan reported weaker-than-expected exports in May. Bloomberg reports:

Japan’s exports fell more than economists estimated in May, adding to signs the world’s third- largest economy may struggle to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Exports decreased 10.3 percent from a year earlier after April’s revised 12.4 percent drop, the Finance Ministry said today. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for an 8.4 percent decline. The nation posted a trade deficit of 853.7 billion yen ($10.7 billion), the second biggest since comparable data were made available in 1979...

Overseas shipments rose a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in May from April, the first advance in three months, today’s report showed...

An increase in energy prices pushed up import bills. Crude oil prices have gained about 20 percent in the past year and Japan gets virtually all of its oil from abroad. Imports rose 12.3 percent in May from a year earlier, today’s report showed.

Meanwhile, composite indices for April have been revised down, reports Nikkei:

The composite index of coincident economic indicators has been revised downward to a 0.2-point rise on the month to 103.6 in April (2005=100), the Cabinet Office said Monday.

The preliminary reading, released on June 7, stood at 103.8, up 0.3 points from March.

The index of leading indicators, a barometer of economic conditions several months down the road, slid 3.4 points to 96.2.

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