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Friday August 23, 2013 - 14:27:55 GMT -

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Japanís Economic Recovery Remains on Track

Japanís Economic Recovery Remains on Track

Opinion polls suggest that the Japanese economy will continue to recover this year, on the back of promising consumer spending, and despite a near-record trade deficit.

Japan has been one of the only reliable performers in the Asia-Pacific markets, with the major regional indexes ex-Japan seeing severe drops recently. Emerging economies such as India and Indonesia have been hit extremely hard. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abeís recovery efforts have been buoyed in particular by rapidly rising exports.

According to the Ministry of Finance, year-on-year Japan has seen a 12.2 percent increase in exports, with a 7.4 percent rise coming in June. This is certainly positive news, even despite ever climbing imports, which now stand at 19.6 percent. The trade deficit is the third largest since records began in 1979, at $10.5 billion (1.02 trillion yen).

Thereís little doubt that the large increase in exports is down to renewed demand from Europe and the United States. The Eurozone has recently exited recession, and the US has been one of the best performers in the efforts for global recovery. Japanese policymakers have been actively working to devalue the yen, which has also clearly had positive effects on exports.

Exports to the EU have increased by 16.6 percent year on year, and 8.6 percent in June. US exports have jumped by 18.4 percent for the year, and 14.6 percent in June.

Japanese economists are not particularly concerned by the scale of the trade deficit, as a great deal of its increase can be attributed to particularly expensive energy prices. They are expected to drop sooner or later. There are also forecasts for exports to continue their upward trend, particularly through the technology and automotive industries. The Nikkei 225 has had mixed fortunes recently.

Most economists are of the opinion that the trade deficit will become a surplus several months into 2015.

Toyota, the largest car manufacturer in Asia, and the third largest in the world, posted profit forecasts of 1.48 trillion yen ($15.2 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2014, up from previous estimates. A weaker yen has undoubtedly helped increase export volumes for the automotive giant, and numerous other Japanese conglomerations.

It should be noted that Japanís import figure was 3.6 percent higher than expected, and was the largest increase in three years. As already stated, this is partially down to energy costs; following the 2011 earthquakes, the country is reliant on fossil fuel imports. As a result, the trade shortfall was almost 200 billion yen larger than a recent Bloomberg poll had suggested it would be.


Japanese growth is slowing, and as a result, next yearís figures are not expected to be as strong.

Overall growth in the country has slowed down slightly. For the period of April to June 2013, the rate declined to 2.6 percent, some 1.2 percent less than the quarter before. There is a tax increase planned for April however, and it is likely that the economy will in fact shrink by 4.3 percent in the following quarter. Growth should follow however.


Chinaís economic slowdown is currently at odds with a housing market thatís seeing large price increases. Year on year jumps of up to 17 percent are a problem in many of the countryís major cities, and it seems that the government has resigned itself to allowing houses to be unaffordable in the short term.

India, Malaysia and Thailand are all currently struggling, with the Indian rupee having hit a record low. Year on year, Thailandís GDP growth has slowed from an encouraging 5.4 percent in the first quarter, to 2.8 percent in the second.

Alpari  report that the Japanese BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda will attend this yearís Jackson Hole later in the week, which is expected to be a non-event, with many central bankers missing.








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