Japan’s current-account deficit widened to a record in November as imports climbed, underscoring challenges for Prime MinisterShinzo Abe as he tries to drive a sustained economic rebound.
The 592.8 billion yen ($5.7 billion) shortfall in the widest measure of trade, reported today by the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, was wider than a median forecast of a 368.9 billion yen deficit in a Bloomberg News survey of 24 economists. Ahead of the data, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said a smaller income surplus for November probably played a role.
Weakness in the yen and extra demand for energy because of nuclear-plant shutdowns are driving up Japan’s import bill, highlighting drags on the recovery that will also include a sales-tax increase in April. A longer-term risk for the nation is any shift to a sustained deficit that would undermine investor confidence in Japanese government debt.
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