Japan logs record trade deficit in 2012 amid islands dispute with China
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese exports fell 5.8 per cent in December from a year earlier, bringing the country into a record trade deficit for 2012, Ministry of Finance data showed today, suggesting it will take more time for exports to stabilise after a slowdown in overseas economies.
For 2012, Japan logged a record annual trade deficit of 6.927 trillion yen (S$96 billion) as the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone and a territorial row with China hurt exports, and the shutdown of nuclear power plants since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami pushed up energy imports.
The fall in exports, which are a key driver of the world's third-largest economy, compared with the median forecast for a 4.2 per cent decline in a Reuters poll of economists. It was the seventh straight month of declines, and followed a 4.1 per cent year-on-year fall in November.
Exports to China, the top destination for Japanese shipments, dropped 15.8 per cent in the year to December and those to Europe declined 11.1 per cent.