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Don’t Count On Asia To Lead Worldwide Recovery

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Don’t Count On Asia To Lead Worldwide Recovery

Japan, from National GeographicCourtesy of Mish

Those who think Asia is going to lead the recovery need to think again. Please consider Japan Export Slump Deepens, Casting Doubt on Recovery.

Japan’s export slump deepened in May, casting doubt on the nation’s growth prospects as the economy struggles to emerge from its worst postwar recession.

Shipments abroad dropped 40.9 percent from a year earlier, more than April’s 39.1 percent decline, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of economists surveyed was for a 39.3 percent decrease. From a month earlier, exports fell 0.3 percent, the first deterioration since February.

Declines in shipments to Asia accelerated for the first time since January, damping hopes that demand from the region will spur a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. A worldwide stock market rally stalled this month on concern that the global recession will deepen.

“Final demand just isn’t picking up and it’s still hard to expect a very strong economic recovery,” said Azusa Kato, an economist at BNP Paribas in Tokyo. Kato said the economy will “barely expand” in 2010 once the effect of Japan’s own economic stimulus measures fades.

Steel, autos and semiconductors led the slump. Shipments to China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, fell 29.7 percent, more than April’s 25.9 percent. Exports to Asia slid 35.5 percent from 33.4 percent a month earlier.

China’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) in stimulus measures haven’t been enough to offset sales declines in the U.S. and Europe.

Far too many have equated a rise in the price of commodities for sustainable growth in China independent of demand in the US and Europe. The idea is as silly now as it was in 2008 when various books were promoting decoupling theories. It’s important to remember that Speculation In China Does Not Mean Inflation In The US or sustainable growth anywhere.

Those looking for significant decoupling are still many years, perhaps even a decade or more early.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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