- Japan's current-account deficit widened to a record ¥638.6B ($6.2B) in December from ¥592.8B in November, due to surging imports - particularly of energy - and the weak yen. Consensus was for ¥685.4B.
- Temporary factors also contributed to the increase in the deficit, including a sharp increase in demand ahead of a rise in sales tax in April.
- A surplus in income from overseas investment is helping to ensure that the deficit doesn't become permanent, which would hurt investor confidence. (PR)
- Consumer confidence slipped to 40.5 in January from 41.3 in December. (PR)
- Bank lending increased 2.3% last month, as in December. (PR)
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