Exports from Japan fall almost 50 percent

March 25th, 2009 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, March 25 (DPA) Japan’s exports dropped by 49.4 percent in February, the biggest plunge on record, as global demand for cars and electronics declined, the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday.
Exports dropped to 3.5 trillion yen ($35.7 billion) year-on-year in February, the fifth consecutive monthly drop and the biggest since the beginning of records in 1980.

Imports were down by 43 percent to 3.4 trillion yen, creating a trade surplus of 82.4 billion yen, down 91.2 percent compared with the same month last year. It is the first trade surplus in five months.

The global downturn crushed Japan’s exports of cars, vehicle parts and semiconductors.

The trade data clearly shows how badly the crisis affects Japan’s export-driven economy, analysts said. At the same time the country was driven deeper into crisis by domestic factors, including companies holding back on investment and consumers increasingly cutting back on consumption.

Japan’s trade surplus with the US was down 79 percent in February to 146.2 billion yen, the fastest drop on record. Its trade surplus with Asia decreased by 58.9 percent to 375.7 billion yen, the sixth consecutive monthly drop. Both imports and exports dropped significantly.

However, Japan for the first time in six months logged a trade surplus with China - excluding trade with territories Hong Kong and Macao. The import plunge outpaced the drop of exports to China.

Exports to Europe contracted an unprecedented 54.7 percent while imports dropped by 29.5 percent to 394.4 billion yen. The trade surplus was down by 81.6 percent to 96.9 billion yen year-on-year, the ministry said.

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