Friday, June 27, 2008

Japan Export Slowdown

Japan just released its May trade surplus report, and although it beat expectations, it was down for the third straight month, hurt by rising prices for the Oil that Japan imports.

While exports to China and the rest of Asia were strong, analysts said the gain was a little deceptive, as shipments to China were artificially boosted after the recent earthquake on May 12.

Even more important was that:

1) Exports to the U.S. fell 9.5% as demand for Japanese cars and other products slowed.

2) Exports to Europe were down for the first time in 31 months.

Is this more evidence that the decoupling theory is not valid? Last week it was reported that exports from Singapore to the developed world were down as well.

Here is a list of important questions to answer:

Is it possible that the economic recession in the U.S will lead to a decline in Consumer spending on discretionary items?

Is it possible that this decline in consumer spending will be exacerbated by the increasing price of gasoline and food?

Is it possible that some Asian economies, who are heavily dependent on exports, will not be able to export as much as in the past because there aren't as many buyers?

Is it possible that these Asian economies will not grow as fast as in previous years or as much as the market or pundits expect?

Is it possible that when these Asian economies don't grow as fast, they will use less energy (oil) than the market expects?

Is it possible that the supply and demand fundamentals for oil will not meet the market expectations and we will have a surplus of oil over the next 12 months leading to a rapid rise in inventories?

Is it possible that I am out of my mind?

No comments: