Monday, October 22, 2012

Japan's Exports Drop 10% YOY in September, Most Since March 2011, As Imports Spike to Avoid Tax Increase on Oil

Japanese economy may have two consecutive quarters of contraction, which is the definition of "recession".

DPJ's Seiji Maehara, whose ministerial portfolio includes economy, finance, nuclear policy, and national strategy (virtually eliminating the need for the cabinet), pushes Bank of Japan for more monetary stimulus. He is silent on 20-plus years of fiscal stimulus by the Japanese government that has gone nowhere.

The most decline came from exports to the EU, dropping 21.1 percent, followed by exports to China that dropped 14.1%, according to Bloomberg. (I guess they don't round the numbers in 2 digits.)

Imports increased more than anticipated, because "“Everyone rushed to pass customs,” before a tax increase on oil imports that began Oct. 1."

Tax increase on oil imports, when the economy is struggling??? What are they thinking? Oh I see, they are worried about "global warming". Of course. So the tax on 1 kiloliter of crude oil went up more than 10% starting October 1, according to the information from the National Tax Agency.

From Bloomberg News (10/21/2012):

Japan Exports Tumble 10% as Maehara Presses BOJ to Ease: Economy

Japan’s exports fell the most since the aftermath of last year’s earthquake as a global slowdown, the yen’s strength and a dispute with China increase the odds of a contraction in the world’s third-largest economy.

Shipments slid 10.3 percent in September from a year earlier, leaving a trade deficit of 558.6 billion yen ($7 billion), the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts was for a 9.9 percent export decline. Imports rose 4.1 percent.

Economy Minister Seiji Maehara pressed the Bank of Japan for more action yesterday, saying the nation is “falling behind” in monetary stimulus and is at risk of another credit- rating downgrade. The BOJ today cut its view of eight out of nine regional economies while Taiwanese unemployment rose to a one-year high, underscoring weakness across Asia after China’s third-quarter growth was the slowest since 2009.

There’s a high chance that Japan’s economy will have two consecutive quarters of contraction through December,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. in Tokyo. “The slump in advanced nations is spreading to emerging economies.”

...The decline in shipments, exacerbated by a spat with China over islands in the East China Sea, was the biggest since May last year, when the country was rebuilding supply chains wrecked in the March earthquake and tsunami.

Shipments to China, the nation’s largest export market, slid 14.1 percent from a year earlier. Exports to the European Union fell 21.1 percent, while those to the U.S. rose 0.9 percent. Auto shipments to all markets dropped 14.6 percent.

...The trade deficit was the first in the month of September since 1979 and compared with economists’ median estimate for a 547.9 billion yen shortfall. The rise in imports was higher than a 2.9 percent gain estimated by economists as the country bought more oil and liquefied natural gas.

The reason behind the increase is very simple,” said Shohei Setoh, a Tokyo-based manager for a crude oil trading group at JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. “Everyone rushed to pass customs,” before a tax increase on oil imports that began Oct. 1.

(Full article at the link)


Stock said...

I said it from the first week....Japan would lose 10% of its country, and 10% of GDP, for 10 years

Nuke is a country killer.

Anonymous said...

You can thank Ishihara (Senkakus) and TEPCO (Fukushima) for this.

Anonymous said...

You can also thank the 42 idle nuclear reactors for the increased oil imports

Anonymous said...

Well...a slumping economy due to idle nuclear reactors? With all the blather about Japan's energy costs rising, thereby inflating the necessity to turn on more nuclear power plants, the cold, hard reality is this: Japan's economy is down and out because of East Asian competition from Korea and China and the need for energy in Japan will continue to decline as production slumps. Why did Exxon leave Japan? Years and years of declining consumption of fuel, that's why.

The major economic impact from Fukushima has yet to come...all of the projected future sales of nuclear power plants by Hitachi, MHI, and Toshiba have literally gone down the drain. That's $Billions$ upon $Billions$ that Japan Inc. planned to have in the bank over the next five to ten years. Once those companies go belly up for over-investing in exporting nuclear power plants, Japan's economy will really hit the skids. METI, MOFA and Amano at the IAEA are more concerned about this loss of market share than any contamination in Tohoku.

Anonymous said...

IHI is losing Visaginas because of Fukushima -- regardless of whether the Japanese reactors are idle or not. The nuclear industry failed to deliver the safety it promised, that is all.

Anonymous said...

The oil tax increase was something like the stationing of Ospreys in Futenma, a dose of something that tastes awful to push people in line with another policy they prefer to reject (Henoko and nuclear power). It's like bleeding the patient to get rid of a virus.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Visaginas has nothing to do with Fukushima the comments in the thread below are pretty clear the Lithuanians don't fear nuclear power in the least.

Anonymous said...

So exports to the U.S. rose 0.9 percent, I wonder how much of that increase is contaminated foodstuffs bought for processing by low end suppliers like Walmart or any brand of Dollar store found across the country. Maybe some of it will end up in school lunches, if the kids can't go to Japan they'll bring a little slice of Japan here. You can be sure the FDA won't look too hard if this is the case.

Anonymous said...

@8:46 Sorry but if you go by the reasoning of the link you posted, you could say that Lithuanians did not fear KGB: they had both Ignalina npp and KGB for too for so many years and never protested against either of them.

Furthermore, the link you posted contains NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that Lithuanians (the people, not the politicians or their nuclear village) indeed think nuclear power is safe. What the same link contains is the personal opinion of some "expert", as reported by former soviet news agency TASS, which might be just trying to sell cheap Russian nuclear technology to Lithuania.

Finally, I suspect *you* posted the TASS news so you are justifying your statement using your own post...


Anonymous said...


First off according to The Lithuania Tribune only half of Lithuania’s people participated, 60 percent of whom voted against the plant.

Second Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence on 11 March 1990, a year before the break-up of the Soviet Union they kick out the KGB well over a decade before they closed the reactors to join the EU

As for the people's will they protested the closure of Ignalina in exchange for EU membership.

“PROTESTS AGAINST IGNALINA in Lithuania, hydropower in Latvia and oil shale mining in Estonia thus came to have great significance for the Baltic struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. But if we look more closely at what actually happened to the power plants and industries — which were monstrous from an environmentalist standpoint — that the Balts saw, twenty years ago, as odious expressions of Soviet occupation, we see something surprising: the plants in question have been anything but shut down. On the contrary, they have found strong support from the now autonomous governments and have continued to be expanded. It is only the Lithuanian nuclear power plant which is still threatened with closure — but it is now the Lithuanians themselves who are fighting to keep the nuclear power plant, while it is the EU that wants to close Ignalina for good”.

A partial explanation is given by the American anthropologist Jane Dawson, who in the book Eco-Nationalism: Anti-Nuclear Activism and National Identity in Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, examines the emergence of the anti-nuclear movement in several countries, including Lithuania. Her conclusion, based on a large number of deep interviews, is that Lithuanians deliberately used environmental issues as a tool to stimulate people’s engagement in the pursuit of national sovereignty. In reality, the environmental movement’s leaders were never particularly interested in closing down Ignalina!

At any rate it really doesn’t matter because Belarus is building two reactor 20 km from the Lithuanian border and 50km from the capital. Russia is building two reactors in Kaliningrad a small enclave state in between Poland and Lithuania Kaliningrad isn’t even connected to the rest of Russia. Lithuania is going nuclear whether they like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Anon @3:22 - the idle nuke plants are TEPCO's fault pal. If they and their nuclear mura co-conspiritors had not corrupted their regulator, then we never would have awoken to the dangers of nuclear power.

Anonymous said...

@4:43/8:46 to answer your observations:

Firstly the voters turn up rate (a little more than 50%) is irrelevant: the majority of the Lithuanians who care said no to nuclear power. Those who did not care to vote cannot be ascribed to the pro nuke field (as you imply without saying it).

Secondly the date Lithuania became politically independent of USSR is irrelevant -- read again my comment.

Thirdly protests against the closure of Ignalina came from just a few thousand people who had a direct vested interest into the continuation of its operations ( This is unlike protests in Japan and unlike the recent Lithuanian referendum where the general population was involved.

Lastly anthropologists are irrelevant: do you understand a "no thank you" when you hear one?

As you say, Lithuanians will be exposed to the dangers of nuclear industry because other plants are being planned close to their borders; for them this is obviously not a good reason to invest into an npp in their own backyard.

At the same time Lithuanians will soon be able generate electricity from the gas coming through their new gas terminal (, which will also afford them energy independence from Russia.

On the contrary the npp planned in Belarus is based on Russian technology, Russian financing and linked to Russian nuclear fuel and it will place Belarus in the hands of the Kremlin. Hopefully folks in Belarus will soon come to their senses.


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