Asia Economy
Japan reports 26th straight monthly trade deficit; Public debt tops ¥1,000tn
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Sep 18, 2014 - 3:29 AM

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Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, attended a citizens’ rally on Sept 13, 2014 with the theme - - “We cannot wait any longer: We want results this year!”

Japan today reported a ¥948.5bn ($8.7bn) trade deficit in August, the 26th straight shortfall, as weak demand from China and the US hit exports, the finance ministry said Thursday. Also today the Bank of Japan reported that public/ government debt has topped ¥1,000tn.

Exports dropped 1.3% from a year earlier to ¥5.71tn ($53.3bn) while imports declined 1.5% to ¥6.65tn ($62.1bn), resulting in a ¥948.5bn deficit compared with a ¥971.4bn deficit in August 2013.

The yen has fallen about 20% against the US dollar since early 2013 but it has failed to boost exports despite an improvements in the US economy.

The past high value of the currency had spurred offshoring of jobs.

Slower growth in China and continued political tensions with Japan's biggest trading partner, has also been a factor and exports fell 0.2%.

Exports to the US declined by 4.4%

Consumer spending plunged in the economy when the sales tax was hiked by 3% to 8% last April.

The Bank of Japan reported that the outstanding balance of Japanese government bonds topped ¥1,000tn ($9.2tn) for the first time in June, with the Bank of Japan remaining the biggest holder of sovereign debt.

The total amount of outstanding bonds came to ¥1,013tn at the end of June, up 4.5% from a year earlier, amid growing welfare costs for the government due to the ageing population in the country.

Of the total, the BOJ held 21.2% or ¥215tn worth of bonds, up 43.8% and marking a fresh record high, as the bank has conducted massive asset purchases from financial institutions as part of its aggressive monetary easing to boost the economy.

The gross debt GDP ratio is about 230%.

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