Japan's high savings rate, considered one of the drivers of its trade surplus in the past, is no more. From Bloomberg:
The savings rate in the year through March was minus 1.3 percent, the first negative reading in data back to 1955, the Cabinet Office said. Real earnings fell 4.3 percent in November from a year earlier, a 17th straight decline and the steepest tumble since December 2009, the labor ministry said today...
The savings rate, which the Cabinet Office calculates by dividing savings by the sum of disposable income and pension payments, peaked at 23.1 percent in fiscal 1975.
As Japan’s population ages, its growing ranks of elderly are tapping their savings, according to the Cabinet Office. Consumers also ran down savings to make purchases ahead of a sales tax-increase in April, the first since 1997.