— See Separate Table For Details Of Individual Forecasts

TOKYO (MNI) – Japan is expected to have posted a sixth trade
deficit for the year in November worth Y442.4 billion, compared with a
Y280.2 billion deficit in October and a Y157.6 billion surplus a year
earlier, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by
Market News International.

The Ministry of Finance will release the data at 0850 JST on
Wednesday, Dec. 21 (2350 GMT Tuesday).

In November, imports are forecast to have posted a 23rd
year-on-year rise, up 7.2%, on fossil fuel purchases for thermal power
plants to offset the loss of electricity generation capacity caused by
the shutdown of many of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, exports are projected to have fallen 4.4% for a second
consecutive y/y drop after -3.8% in October due to lower shipments of
semiconductors, visual equipment and steel products amid the global
economic slowdown.

The major flooding in Thailand, a key production center for
Japanese car and electronics makers, has also led to the recent export

Japan’s shipments to the Southeast Asian country fell 5.1% on year
in October, the first drop in three months, following a 16.1% gain in

BNP Paribas economist Azusa Kato warned that Japan’s trade balance
for 2011 is likely to be in deficit for the first time since 1980, when
the aftermath of the second oil crisis pushed up import costs sharply,
resulting in a trade deficit worth Y2.6 trillion.

** Market News International Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4838 **

[TOPICS: M$J$$$,M$A$$$,MAJDS$]