Japan's Current Account Surplus Shrinks as Exports Tumble

Japan’s Current Account surplus narrowed more than economists expected in April, printing at 630.5 billion yen from 1485.6 billion in March. Forecasters were calling for an 850 billion yen result ahead of the release. Trading terms declined -54.5% from a year before as shrinking global demand weighed on exports. Indeed, overseas sales fell -40.6% in annualized terms, outpacing a -37.8% drop in imports. The International Monetary Fund has forecast that world trade volumes will contract by a whopping -11% this year and recover just 0.6% in 2010, spelling continued trouble for export-sensitive countries like Japan: companies are likely to maintain lower output levels, keeping a lid on a recovery in the labor market to keep disposable incomes low and hold back spending. Indeed, a survey of economists conducted by Bloomberg sees unemployment continuing higher at least through the second quarter of next year.