Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Japan's trade surplus surges, confidence falls in Germany and the US

It looks like exports is again driving the Japanese economy's growth. From Bloomberg today:

Japan's trade surplus expanded three times more than economists expected in August as shipments of cars and steel jumped and import growth slowed.

Exports rose 14.5 percent and imports gained 5.7 percent, the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo today, helping the surplus more than triple to 743.2 billion yen ($6.5 billion) from a year earlier. The median estimate of 37 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for the gap to swell to 235.5 billion yen.

The reports released elsewhere yesterday were not as positive.

The Ifo index of German business confidence fell more than expected in September to 104.2, a 19-month low, from 105.8 in August.

In the US, consumer confidence also fell in September with the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence falling more than forecast to 99.8 from 105.6 in August. In addition, existing home sales dropped 4.3 percent in August and home prices fell 3.9 percent in the 12 months through July according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index.

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