Japan March export growth slows, annual trade deficit widens to record | Inquirer Business

Japan March export growth slows, annual trade deficit widens to record

/ 09:46 AM April 20, 2023

A container area at a port in Tokyo

A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo, Japan.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File photo

TOKYO  – Japan’s export growth slowed in March, according to Ministry of Finance data, dragged down by a drop in China-bound shipments of cars and steel in a slide that underscores concern about slowing global demand amid Western banking-sector jitters.

Import growth outpaced exports in March, due to the hefty cost of coal, crude and oil products, helping bring the annual trade deficit in the world’s third-biggest economy to a record 21.7 trillion yen ($161 billion).


The yen’s depreciation by 16.5 percent from the same month a year earlier also boosted the value of imports, rather than driving up external shipments as Japanese exporters have shifted production overseas during previous periods of yen strength.


Thursday’s data showed exports rose 4.3 percent in March from a year earlier, logging a 25th straight month of increase, led by shipments of U.S.-bound cars. That was above economists’ median estimate of a 2.6-percent gain, but below a 6.5-percent increase in February.

Imports rose 7.3 percent in the year to March, below the median estimate of an 11.4 percent increase and after the prior month’s 8.3 percent gain.

The trade balance in March came to a deficit of 754.5 billion yen versus the median estimate for a deficit of 1.29 trillion yen in March, after a shortfall of 897 billion yen in February.

By region, exports to the United States grew 9.4 percent in the year to March, slowing from the 14.9 percent seen in the previous month.

Exports to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, fell 7.7 percent year-on-year in March, a fourth straight month of declines, the trade data showed

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TAGS: Exports, Japan, trade deficit

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