[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Japan logs record trade deficit in 2012

Trade shortfall last year totalled $78bn hurt by dip in exports amid Europe's debt crisis and diplomatic row with China.
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2013 10:10
The debt crisis in Europe and diplomatic row with China have taken a toll on the trade of Japanese goods [Reuters]

Japan's trade deficit rose to a record level last year as fuel imports surged, demand in debt-hit Europe lessened and a bitter territorial dispute with China affected its exports.

Official figures from the finance ministry on Thursday, showed Japan's trade shortfall last year totalled $78bn (6.92 trillion yen), with the deficit in December alone standing at a higher-than-expected 641.5 billion yen.

Shinzo Abe, the new prime minister of the world's third largest economy, pledged to boost the economy with big public spending and by presurring the central bank for a more aggresive monetary policy.

"The figures will likely be better in 2013 as overseas economies imporove," said Masahiko Hashimoto, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo, adding that the impact of the territorial feud with China is likely to fade. 

He added that the deficit was likely to remain for the short term as a weakening Yen makes overseas imports pricier. 

"But I believe exports will eventually pick up. (The weaker yen) will be a positive for the economy in the long term," he said also stating that China and other Asian economies are likely to lead the global economy.

The European debt crisis crippled demand for Japanese products, leading the country to record a 138.7 billion Yen annual deficit with the EU.

A consumer boycott in China - world's second largest economy - due to a disputed set of islands in the East China Sea doubled its deficit with Beijing to a record 3.52 trillion yen.

Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler said "Abenomics" as a part of the $117b stimulus package implemented by the new Prime MInister and has both "short term and log term impacts here in the region". 

Reporting from Thai capital Bankok, Heidler said that as the Japanese Yen became weaker, it strengthened the Thai economy and the Baht.

He added that if Abe's plan for the Yen kicks in there may be an increase in trade within the region.

318

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list