Ja­pan posts long­est run of trade deficits

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Ja­pan posted its long­est run of trade deficits in three decades as ex­ports fell in Fe­bru­ary, un­der­scor­ing chal­lenges for Bank of Ja­pan (8301) Gov­er­nor Haruhiko Kuroda in re­viv­ing the world’s third-big­gest econ­omy.

Ship­ments dropped 2.9 per­cent from a year ear­lier, the Fi­nance Min­istry said in Tokyo to­day. The me­dian es­ti­mate of 22 econ­o­mists sur­veyed by Bloomberg News was for a 1.7 per­cent de­crease. Im­ports rose 11.9 per­cent, leav­ing a trade short­fall of 777.5 bil­lion yen ($8.1 bil­lion).

Kuroda is sched­uled to give his first press con­fer­ence from 6 p.m. in Tokyo to­day, with news from Bank of Ja­pan brief­ings usu­ally em­bar­goed un­til af­ter they fin­ish. The new cen­tral bank chief has pledged more ag­gres­sive mon­e­tary eas­ing that may fur­ther weaken a yen down about 10 per­cent against the dol­lar this year, a move that’s al­ready swelling the na­tion’s im­port bill as nu­clear-plant shut­downs force big­ger im­ports of fos­sil fu­els.

“There’s a time lag un­til the weak­en­ing yen will push up ex­ports,” said Yoshi­masa Maruyama, chief econ­o­mist at Itochu Corp. in Tokyo, who said that im­ports of oil and liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas drove the big­gest gain in in­bound ship­ments since Oc­to­ber 2011. Fe­bru­ary’s deficit was the eighth con­sec­u­tive monthly trade short­fall, the long­est stretch since 1980. The yen strength­ened 0.6 per­cent to 95.41 per dol­lar as of 6:37 p.m. in Tokyo.

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