Japan posts worst October trade data in three decades
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan on Wednesday posted its worst October trade figures in more than 30 years, underscoring persistent weakness in the world's third-largest economy amid the global slowdown and a spat with China.
Finance ministry data showed last month's trade deficit nearly doubled to US$6.7 billion (S$8.2 billion) from a year ago, coming on top of weakening factory output and after Japan's economy shrank in the latest quarter, nudging it towards recession.
The poor figures have heaped pressure on the Bank of Japan to launch further easing measures to stoke the economy, with main opposition leader Mr Shinzo Abe saying he wanted the central bank to buy government bonds if elected.
The central bank, however, held off fresh policy action and kept rates steady on Tuesday, with Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa dismissing the proposals from Mr Abe, tipped to become Japan's next prime minister in December's elections.