Japan's October exports almost back to pre-pandemic levels

Japan Today -- Nov 19
Japan's exports in October bounced back to just below the levels seen before the novel coronavirus pandemic, as global demand for products such as cars has risen in line with a gradual recovery in business activities, government data showed Wednesday.

Exports edged down 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 6.57 trillion yen ($63 billion), with auto shipments to the United States and China showing a significant increase while those of diesel oil and cargo ships remained sluggish, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The declining pace of exports slowed from 4.9 percent in September.

Meanwhile, exports shrank for the 23rd consecutive month since December 2018, tying the longest streak of monthly on-year falls set in July 1987 when the country was facing fierce trade friction with the United States amid Japan's rise as an economic power.

Imports decreased 13.3 percent to 5.69 trillion yen, down for the 18th straight month, mainly on the falling price of crude oil purchased from the United Arab Emirates and other countries. But the decline was smaller than the 17.4 percent drop in the previous month.

The goods trade surplus stood at 872.90 billion yen in the reporting month, securing black ink for the fourth month in a row, and up from the 687.84 billion yen recorded in September.

By product, exports of cars grew 3.0 percent, turning positive from a 0.5 percent decrease in September to post their first rise since July 2019. Those of auto parts also climbed 4.0 percent, following a 7.7 percent fall the previous month.

By country, exports to China expanded 10.2 percent to 1.46 trillion yen, while imports fell 3.7 percent to 1.54 trillion yen. Exports to the United States increased 2.5 percent to 1.30 trillion yen, with imports shrinking 15.6 percent to 600.76 billion yen.

- Japan Today