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Today Japan reported trade figures, clocking in its first trade deficit in 30+ years.In a note analysing the country’s trade data, Goldman observe the following breakdown.
A regional breakdown shows overall weakness in exports, with an especially pronounced falloff in exports to Europe, which declined 13.1% in volume terms following -11.2% decline in November. This suggests that the deterioration in financial conditions in Europe may be having a negative impact on demand there. Exports to the EU also fell in value terms, -12.7% (vs. -4.6% in November). Export volume was weak overall, with declines of -11.0% in exports to Asia (-9.5%). With respect to the decline in exports to Asia, China appears to have switched to a more accommodative monetary policy stance (with a cut in the bank reserve requirement ratio), but we think it will be some time yet before real demand recovers. Meanwhile, exports to the US turned positive, +2.3% yoy after three months of decline, reflecting steady underlying demand in the US towards the year-end.