Japan’s exports decline in March - GulfToday

Japan exports decline in March

Japan-Export

Container trucks seen at a port in Tokyo. Associated Press

TOKYO: Japan’s exports declined in March as shipments to China dropped more than 9 per cent, pulling the nation’s trade surplus sharply lower. The data released Wednesday by the Finance Ministry was more or less in line with forecasts. The report followed two days of trade talks with the US in Washington aimed at redressing the chronic imbalance in Japan’s favor, which totaled $67.6 billion in 2018 according to US figures.

Exports from Japan, the world’s 3rd largest economy, fell 2.4 per cent from a year earlier to 7.2 trillion yen ($64 billion), while imports rose 1 per cent to 6.7 trillion yen ($59 billion). The trade surplus dropped 32 per cent from a year earlier to 528.5 billion yen ($4.7 billion), customs figures showed.

Exports to the US, Japan’s biggest single overseas market, rose 4.4 per cent while imports fell, increasing the politically sensitive trade surplus by nearly 10, to 683.6 billion yen ($6.1 billion), up 9.8 per cent from the same month a year earlier.

Japan’s exports to China fell 9.4 per cent from a year earlier, reflecting lower demand as the economy slows amid a trade war with the US over Beijing’s technology ambitions.

Darren Aw of Capital Economics said in a commentary that the deficit in March was not a significant concern and that overall, trade may have contributed to economic growth in the last quarter. “The bigger picture, however, remains unchanged — the outlook for external demand remains weak,” he said. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office said in a statement that he and Japan’s trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi agreed to continue talks soon.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference that he received a report from Washington that the two sides had started negotiations in line with an agreement last September between Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The talks included trade in agricultural products and autos.

Associated Press