The latest trade data out today show that Japan's economy is weakening. Bloomberg reports:
Japan reported a wider-than-expected trade deficit in July as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and a slowdown in China dragged down exports and higher oil prices boosted imports.
The shortfall was 517.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion), after a revised 60.3 billion yen surplus in June, the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 28 analysts was for a 270 billion yen deficit. Exports fell 8.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with an estimated 2.9 percent decline. Imports rose 2.1 percent.
A report yesterday had shown that Japan's all industry activity index grew 0.2 percent in June, reversing the 0.2 percent fall in May.
However, another report from Japan yesterday showed that department store sales fell 3.3 percent in July from a year ago, the third straight decline.