August 17, 2017

Trade Gap Grew in November

WASHINGTON — The trade deficit in the United States expanded in November to its widest point in seven months, the Commerce Department said Friday, driven by a surge in imports that outpaced only modest growth in exports.

The trade gap widened 15.8 percent to $48.7 billion in November from October, the report said.

Imports grew 3.8 percent, to $231.3 billion, led by gains in shipments of cellphones, including Apple’s new iPhone.

Exports increased only 1 percent, to $182.6 billion. And exports to Europe fell 1.3 percent, further evidence of the prolonged debt crisis that has gripped the region.

A wider trade deficit acts as a drag on American growth. It typically means the United States is earning less on overseas sales while spending more on foreign products.

Faster growth in exports helped the economy grow from July through September at an annual rate of 3.1 percent. Most economists estimate growth has slowed in the October-December quarter to an annual rate of less than 2 percent, in part because of weaker exports.

Through the first 11 months of 2012, the trade deficit ran at an annual rate of $546.6 billion, roughly 2.4 percent lower than the 2011 deficit.

Imports of consumer goods grew to $45.3 billion in November, a monthly record. Much of the growth was from cellphones and other household electronics products. Oil imports dropped 2.5 percent, reflecting a fall in prices and lower volume.

Imports of foreign-made autos and auto parts rose a sizable $1.5 billion, to $25.6 billion November, probably reflecting catch-up shipments following port disruptions in October caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The American trade deficit with China, the largest with any country, totaled $29 billion in November. That was down slightly from the monthly record of $29.5 billion in October. But the trade gap with China was still on track to set a new annual record in 2012.

In its latest outlook, a forecasting panel for the National Association for Business Economics predicted that the trade deficit for 2013 will total $533 billion, a slight improvement from the $540 billion deficit they expect when the trade numbers are totaled up for all of 2012.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/business/economy/trade-gap-grew-in-november.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Panasonic Forecasts Loss for Year

TOKYO (AP) — Panasonic Corp.’s losses ballooned to 698 billion yen ($8.7 billion) for the fiscal second quarter as sales plunged in flat-panel TVs, laptops and other gadgets, and restructuring costs to turn itself around were proving bigger than initially expected.

The red ink, announced Wednesday, proved far worse than the 105.8 billion yen loss racked up for the July-September period last year.

The Osaka-based maker of Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras revised its full year forecast from an earlier projection for a 50 billion yen ($625 million) profit to a massive annual loss of 765 billion yen ($9.6 billion).

Panasonic sank into a record loss of 772.2 billion yen ($9.6 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2012 — among the biggest in Japan’s manufacturing history.

Its problems are emblematic of the overall Japanese electronics industry. Panasonic’s longtime rival Sony Corp. racked up a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) in its fourth straight year of red ink. Sony reports fiscal results on Thursday.

Panasonic’s quarterly sales sank 12 percent to 1.82 trillion yen ($22.8 billion) as a global slowdown, the falling price of electronics products and competition from cheaper Asian makers chipped away at sales. Sales in Japan dipped 11 percent, while overseas sales shrank 14 percent.

Panasonic has been trying to expand operations that cater to other businesses, instead of consumers, by beefing up its solar panel and battery divisions, including auto batteries.

But such shifts are expected to take some time, and those sectors have also been slammed by price declines.

Panasonic lowered its sales forecast for the full year through March 2013, to 7.3 trillion yen ($91.3 billion), down from an earlier 8.1 trillion yen ($101 billion). Even the more pessimistic number falls short of last year’s sales at 7.85 trillion yen.

The company also said it expects to book restructuring expenses of 440 billion yen ($5.5 billion) for the year, bigger than the originally estimated 41 billion yen ($513 million).

Panasonic and other Japanese makers have struggled despite the popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices as the market, including Japan, has been dominated by Apple Inc. of the U.S. and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.

Also Wednesday, Panasonic said it will boost the efficiency of its operations by merging three group companies focusing on mobile phones and network systems.

During the first fiscal half, Panasonic’s sales grew in appliances and automotive systems, but declined in TVs, digital cameras, Blu-ray recorders, mobile phones, printers and semiconductors, according to the company.

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Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/10/31/business/ap-as-japan-earns-panasonic.html?partner=rss&emc=rss