Japan swings back to trade deficit as China exports plunge
Japan swung back to a trade deficit in January as exports to China plunged, official data showed Thursday, underscoring the impact of a slowdown in one of Tokyo’s biggest trade partners.
The disappointing figures come after Japan’s economy shrank 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter — or an annualised 1.4 percent drop — owing to weak demand for big-ticket items like cars and home appliances.
That was Japan’s second quarterly contraction in 2015, and dealt another blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to slay deflation and kick-start the world’s number three economy.
The monthly deficit came in at 646 billion yen ($5.7 billion), reversing a 140 billion yen surplus in December, figures released Thursday showed.
Overall exports slid almost 13 percent from a year ago, while shipments to China dived 17.5 percent, as the powerhouse economy wobbles. Despite diplomatic tensions, China is a key trading partner for Japan.
Exports to other major markets also fell, with a 5.3 percent decline in US shipments and 3.6 percent fall for EU-bound exports.
Imports, meanwhile, dropped 18.0 percent as the cost of oil and gas fell. Read more