Japan's current-account gap hits record


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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