Financial
Japan posts record $112B trade deficit in 2013 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:41

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged to a record 11.47 trillion yen ($112 billion) in 2013 as the shutdown of nuclear power plants swelled the nation's energy import bill.

Provisional data Monday showed that exports rose 9.5 percent to 69.8 trillion yen ($680.9 billion), while imports jumped 15 percent to 81.3 trillion yen ($793.2 billion).

Japan's trade deficit in 2012 was 6.94 trillion yen. The deficit has been rising as costs for imports have surged with the weakening of the Japanese yen and increased purchases of foreign oil and gas. Japan's nuclear reactors have been offline for safety and regulatory checks after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The largest shortfall, 13.2 trillion yen ($128.8 billion), was with the Middle East, source of the largest share of resource-scarce Japan's imports of oil and gas.

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Survey: Businesses more optimistic, but not hiring PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:39

Businesses expect their companies to perform better this year but that optimism still isn't translating into a push to hire more workers, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics.

Of the 64 members who responded to NABE's January survey, most said they saw stronger sales in the final months of 2013, and 43 percent expect their companies to modestly hike selling prices this year. That's the highest percentage in more than 12 months. Most respondents don't expect the new health care law or the Federal Reserve's easing of its stimulus policies to have a major impact on business, either. However only 37 percent expect to create jobs in the next six months, the same as in NABE's October survey.

For the fourth quarter, only about a quarter of respondents said their companies expanded payrolls. Those most likely to report increased hiring were from the manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate sectors.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December, its lowest point in more than five years. But that wasn't because people found jobs. Rather, they stopped looking for work altogether, making them no longer counted as unemployed.

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Detroit auto show sees most attendance since 2003 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:39

DETROIT (AP) — The North American International Auto Show says it had its biggest attendance in more than a decade for this year's event.

Organizers announced Sunday that attendance was more than 803,000. The last time the show broke 800,000 was in 2003, when it was more than 838,000. NAIAS Chairman Bob Shuman says in a statement that this year's event "was a special show, and everyone knew it."

Sunday was the last day for the show at downtown Detroit's Cobo Center. It began earlier this month, with press and industry previews. A black-tie preview featuring a performance by musician Sheryl Crow helped raise $4.8 million for children's charities.

A race-worthy Corvette, a sumptuous Mercedes C-Class and other glitzy models were among the eye-catching vehicles on display.

___

Online:

http://www.naias.com


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Wealth gap: A guide to what it is, why it matters PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writers JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writers   
Monday, 27 January 2014 07:38

WASHINGTON (AP) — From the White House to the Vatican to the business elite in Davos, Switzerland, one issue keeps seizing the agenda: the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else.

It's "the defining challenge of our time," says President Barack Obama, who will spotlight the issue in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. A Gallup poll finds two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with the nation's distribution of wealth. Experts say it may be slowing the economy.

Why has the issue suddenly galvanized attention? Here are questions and answers about the wealth gap — what it is and why it matters.

Q. Hasn't there always been a wide gulf between the richest people and the poorest?

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