Japan posts trade surplus for third month
TOKYO • Japan posted a trade surplus for a third straight month in November as imports continued to fall faster than exports.
Exports fell 0.4 per cent in November from a year earlier, after declining 10 per cent in October, according to finance ministry data released yesterday.
Imports declined 8.8 per cent, following a 17 per cent drop the previous month. Japan had a trade surplus of 536.1 billion yen (S$6.5 billion) in November.
The yen has weakened more than 10 per cent against the US dollar since Mr Donald Trump's election, raising the value of Japanese exports in dollar terms and improving prospects for corporate earnings.
Australia dodges drop in AAA credit rating
SYDNEY • Australia avoided a feared downgrade of its coveted AAA credit rating yesterday after sticking to its ambition of returning the budget to surplus in 2020-21 despite softer growth forecasts.
The country's resources-driven economy has enjoyed more than 20 years of growth but it is now transitioning out of an unprecedented mining investment boom, and the going has been bumpy with revenues under pressure.
In a mid-year fiscal update, the government revised down the nation's cash deficit of A$37.1 billion (S$38.9 billion) in 2016-17 - as announced in the May budget - to A$36.5 million.
Australia is one of only a handful of countries to hold the top AAA rating from all three major agencies, having dodged a recession during the global financial crisis.
China's property curbs begin to bite
BEIJING • China's overheated property market continued to cool in November as the authorities rolled out renewed home-buying curbs.
New-home prices, excluding government-subsidised housing, gained from the previous month in 55 of the 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 62 in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.
Prices dropped in 11 cities, compared with seven a month earlier. They were unchanged in four.