Japan posts 4th monthly trade deficit, recession concerns mount

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324352004578132010354391592.html?mod=rss_economy TOKYO—Japan posted its fourth straight monthly trade deficit, as exports to China continued to slump amid territorial tensions between Tokyo and Beijing, stoking concerns that Japan is headed for a recession, according to government figures.

The ¥549 billion ($6.7 billion) deficit in the trade of goods in October was much bigger than the ¥360 billion shortfall expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei. Exports to China declined 11.6% year-to-year, compared with a 14.1% drop in September.

Wednesday's data are the latest evidence of the economic impact of strained ties between Asia's two largest economies after the Japanese government announced in September it would buy several disputed islands in the East China Sea that both countries claim. The move sparked widespread anti-Japanese riots and boycotts of Japanese products, affecting the revenues of makers of everything from cosmetics to cars.

Exports of automobiles to China dropped 82% on the year, and exports of car parts were off 28.1%.

Overall, exports fell 6.5% on the year in October to ¥5.15 trillion, the fifth month of decline, the data showed. Exports decreased 10.3% in September.

Japanese imports shrank 1.6% from a year earlier to ¥5.7 trillion after rising 4.1% in September, the finance ministry said, because of falling energy prices. Exports to the European Union dropped 20.1% from a year earlier, the data showed, while those to the U.S. were up 3.1%, lifted by a rise in exports of cars, engines and car parts.
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