Econintersect: November saw the sixth month of falling exports for Japan and imports increased. The result was a trade deficit for the export dependent country that amounted to ¥953.4 ($11.3 billion), the third lowest in history. Only January of this year clearly exceeded the latest data, with a trade deficit just short of ¥1.5 trillion. November was essentially tied with the trade deficit for January 2009 in the depths of The Great Recession.
The large trade deficit for the first two months of the fourth quarter does not bode well for Japan pulling out of the new recession that started in the second quarter this year. The negative from trade seems certain to push the country into a third quarter of negative growth. However, the yen has been weakening and government policies to weaken the currency further may help reverse the balance of trade in 2013.
The following two graphs from Trading Economics give the data details. Clearly 2012 is the year with the most negative balance of trade by far for the past 33 years.
- Japan Exports Slide Even as Yen Decline Improves ’13 Outlook (James Mayger, Bloomberg, 19 December 2012)
- Japan Balance of Trade (Trading Economics)
- Japan in Recession (GEI News, 10 December 2012)