On Germany’s record trade surplus and increasing trade deficits in Japan

Trade data for the US, Germany, Japan and China were released earlier today. While the US, Germany and China had robust export growth that caused their surpluses to swell, Japan's numbers showed weakness despite the recent drop in the value of the Yen. The dichotomy in readings says a lot about the politics surrounding this difficult economic environment and the associated currency wars.
First, let's look at the data.
In the US, it was record petroleum exports which flattered the data set. The US is benefitting from the shale oil boom and this is now having a direct impact on the American trade balance as the US trade deficit was the smallest in two years. The deficit came down by  20.7% to $38.5bn. Bloomberg News noted that this figure was lower than any of the estimates that 73 economi...


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