Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Japan's economy contracts for second consecutive quarter

There were mixed data from Japan on Monday.

The Cabinet Office confirmed earlier figures that showed Japan's economy shrank 0.9 percent in the July-September quarter. However, data for the April-June quarter was revised down to show 0.03 percent contraction from 0.1 percent growth.

With two consecutive quarters of contraction, Japan's economy can be said to be in recession.

Another report on Monday showed that Japan's current account surplus fell 30 percent from the previous year in October.

The economic weakness has hurt consumer sentiment in Japan. The Cabinet Office's consumer confidence index for general households fell to 39.4 in November from 39.7 in October.

Providers of services, though, became more optimistic in November. The Cabinet Office's economy watchers survey showed that the diffusion index for current conditions rose to 40.0 last month from 39.0 in October while the index for future conditions rose to 41.9 from 41.7.

Elsewhere in Asia, China reported disappointing trade figures on Monday. Exports rose just 2.9 percent in November from the previous year, well down from 11.6 percent in October. Imports were flat in November compared to a 2.4 percent increase in October.

However, Germany's trade figures released on Monday surprised on the positive side. Exports rose 0.3 percent in October after having fallen 2.4 percent in September. Imports rose 2.5 percent after a 1.4 percent fall the previous month.

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