If Japan's trade numbers for last month are any indication of the global demand for manufactured industrial and consumer goods, then an economic recovery is still far off. Exports from the world's second largest economy based on gross domestic product were about half of what they were last year.
The numbers mean that Japan's recession is very unlikely to have bottomed. It also means that the U.S., U.K., and E.U. do not have an appetite for imported goods, a sign that talk of an economic recovery is premature.
According to Reuters, "Exports fell 45.6 percent from a year earlier and imports dropped 36.7 percent." Since the numbers have not been getting worse lately, the Japanese government said it was hopeful that its trade numbers were near a bottom. But that is almost certainly wishful thinking.
The governments in China, Japan, and the U.S. appear to believe that they can "wish" a recovery into happening. Officials are starting to see "green sprouts" almost everywhere. But when a trade behemoth like Japan has lost 46 percent of its exports, the idea that an economic rebound is around the corner is an illusion.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.