Japan’s Copper Cable Shipments Drop for Third Month in Four

Japan’s copper wire and cable shipments fell 1.2 percent in December from a year earlier, dropping for the third time in four months as demand from the auto, electric-machinery and export industries slowed.

Shipments totaled 58,000 metric tons last month, compared with 58,711 tons a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said today in an e-mailed statement. They totaled 62,174 tons in November, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier.

“Shipments remained subdued last month because of a slowdown in the economy” said Keiichi Ohki, an official at the association’s research department. “We may see a recovery in coming months with the government’s stimulus package and a pick-up in demand for rebuilding.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month unveiled a 10.3 trillion yen ($115 billion) stimulus package that Nomura Securities Co. forecasts will help deliver real annualized growth of 3.5 percent in the April-June quarter. Prospects for exporters may improve this year as the yen has fallen about 10 percent against the dollar since mid-November.

Japan posted a larger-than-expected current account deficit in November as exports fell. The shortfall in the widest measure of the nation’s trade was 222.4 billion yen, the Ministry of Finance said on Jan. 11. The median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 17.1 billion yen deficit.

Japan’s GDP shrank at an annualized 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter after contracting in the three months through June, meeting the textbook definition of a recession. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News is for a 0.6 percent contraction in the three months through December 2012, with growth in the three months to March seen at 1.6 percent.

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