Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Japanese Exports Almost Halved in 12 Months

Bloomberg via Naked Capitalism:

Japan’s exports plunged 45.7 percent in January, resulting in a record trade deficit, as recessions in the U.S. and Europe smothered demand for the country’s cars and electronics...

Gross domestic product shrank at an annual 12.7 percent pace last quarter, the most since the 1974 oil shock, and economists predict the slump will drag into this quarter. Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. -- all of which forecast losses -- are firing thousands of workers, heightening the risk the recession will deepen.

“The drop in exports is unbelievably bad,” said Yasuhide Yajima, a senior economist at NLI Research Institute in Tokyo. “The pressure on companies to cut jobs and investment is rising and that will make the recession deep and protracted."