Japan is poised to slip back into recession. Quite staggeringly, this would be the sixth recession since the start of the 1990s. June quarter real GDP rose a tepid 0.2% but the partial indicators since then are pointing to a contraction in the September quarter with sharp falls in industrial production and weak retail spending.

In yet another blow to hopes of a turn in global economic activity, the dismal state of the Japanese economy points to more downside risks to commodity prices and, as Australia’s second largest export market, more problems for Australia’s export sector.