07/25/2012, 00.00
JAPAN
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Tokyo, huge trade deficit in the first six months of 2012

A deficit of 2900 billion yen. The causes are the high prices of gas and oil (and the increase in imports of crude oil, after the disaster in Fukushima) and the slowdown in exports to U.S., Europe, China. Strong currency inhibits exports.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In the first half of this year Japan has scored a record trade deficit 37.3 billion dollars (2900 billion yen). Analysts attribute the painful results to rising energy costs and the reduction in exports to major markets like U.S., Europe and China.

The country is also trying to recover from the effects of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis of 2011. But these problems were added to a rise in energy costs, with increases of 50% in gas prices and 16% in oil. Japan in fact, after the Fukushima crisis, is trying to meet the energy needs through fossil fuels. In the past year, imports of crude oil more than doubled.

In the first six months of 2012 imports increased by 7.4%, while exports grew by only 1.5%. The Ministry of Finance noted that exports have declined especially of semiconductors and cars to Europe, as well as to China.

In one year, exports to the EU fell by 21.3%; to China by 7.3%.

Japan fears that trade to the U.S. - which rose 15% in June - could be reduced due to the global crisis. Moreover, its currency, too strong and "overrated", is rendering its exports expensive.

In the month of June, the country recorded a trade balance surplus of 61.7 billion yen (789 million U.S. dollars). This is mainly due to lower oil prices. However, the slowdown in exports remains a source of concern.

 

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