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Market Update

Fourth Annual Trade Deficit in Japan Surges to a Three-decade High

Author: Hiruki Nakamura
Last Update: 9:32 AM ET January 26 2015

4:30 PM Tokyo Ė Exports in Japan soared 12.9% and surged to a record high in six years trimming annual trade deficit to 12.78 trillion yen, surpassing 11.5 trillion yen in 2013. Imports increased 1.9% in the month. Trade balance turned negative in 2011 and has expanded for four years in a row.

Stocks traded sideways and Japanís export rose more than estimated in December and surged to a record high six year.

Japanís trade deficit in December declined more than expected to 660.7 billion yen compared to 893.5 billion yen in November, the Ministry of Finance said today.

2014 trade deficit widened to 12.78 trillion, fourth-consecutive annual deficit since the triple disaster that destroyed nuclear power plants at Fukushima and a record high since 1979. Trade deficit in 2013 was 11.5 trillion yen.

Exports climbed more than forecast in December to 12.9% the highest level in six years following 4.9% increase in the previous month.

Imports in the month rebounded 1.9% after falling 1.6% in November.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 43.23 or 0.2% to 17,468.52 and the broader Topix index slid 1.14 to 1,402.08.

The yen weakened against the dollar after the release of trade deficit data but managed to recover to close at 117.65 against one dollar.

Stocks in Review

JGC Corp jumped 2% to 2,433 yen after the petroleum refiner secured contract worth 60 billion yen or $502 million from Petroliam Nasional Bhd of Malaysia to expand the facilities at its liquefied natural gas complex in Bintulu, Sarawak.

Lasertec Corporation surged 12.8% to 1,432 yen after the inspection and measuring equipment maker revised net sales forecast for the year ending in June to climb 10.4% to 6.18 billion yen mainly due to increase in export sales and gaining of foreign exchange.

The company estimated net income for the year to surge 294% to 1.18 billion yen from earlier estimate of 300 million yen.

Marubeni Corp declined 4.7% to 671.20 yen after the wholesale trader lowered net profit forecast by half to 110 billion yen in the year ending in March from the earlier estimate of 220 billion yen.

The company may write-down about 50 billion yen related to acquisition of the U.S.-based grain company Gavilon LLC and may report impairment loss of about 60 billion yen form higher development costs in the North Sea oil and gas field.

Mitsui & Co Ltd slid 0.7% to 1,562 yen after the trading companyís subsidiary, Bussan Real Estate Co., Ltd. agreed to sell two buildings the WINS Asakusa and Asakusa Park Hall to Hulic Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, the popular tourist area to attract foreign travelers ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The deal is reportedly worth about 17 billion yen and the transaction is scheduled to take place in May.

Rakuten Inc gained 1.8% to 1,574 yen after the online retailer reported operating revenues for its subsidiary Rakuten Securities, Inc in the nine-month ending in December was 33.03 billion yen and net income was 9.33 billion yen.

Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc