World News Brief, Wednesday December 10

Japan's GDP fall worse than expected; Thai parties rally behind opposition Democrats; Likud nominates hard-liners for Israeli elections; Ghana's ruling party has lead in presidential vote count; and more

Top of the Agenda: Japan's Economic Doldrums

Japan today released revised economic data showing the country's gross domestic product has contracted more sharply than analysts initially expected. The Asahi Shumbun reports Japan's economy shrank at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent in the quarter ending in September, far worse than the 0.4 percent loss initially forecast by the Japanese government.

The Financial Times reports the new data are likely to fuel pessimism about the Japanese economy's ability to weather the current crisis. The article says even senior figures in Japan's government have been skeptical about the impact of planned stimulus spending, and that sharp declines in external demand could continue to riddle Japan's economic prospects.

Despite the bad news, Japan's Nikkei index led a slight rise (AP) in East Asian and European markets this morning, cementing major gains made yesterday, though failing to add to them much.


  • CFR's Shiela Smith examines the historical lessons of Japan's "lost decade" in a recent expert brief. She writes that Tokyo should be somewhat better positioned to cope with financial jitters than other developed countries, given that the Japanese banking system currently has more liquidity than its European or North American counterparts.

Pacific Rim: China's Economic Stimulus

China Daily reports Beijing is starting to consider what policy measures it could use to try to boost the Chinese economy if interest rates get sufficiently low that lowering them further seems imprudent.

THAILAND: Four former coalition parties in Thailand announced they would back the country's opposition (Bangkok Post) Democrat party as it seeks to set up a new government.



Israel's Likud party nominates hard-liners for February elections; blow to Netanyahu.

US Democrats propose auto industry loan; critics say deal amounts to a nationalization.

Ghana's ruling party presidential candidate shows slight edge.

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