Japan's exports drop to 3.5 year low in March as overseas demand hit by virus




Japan's exports fell to their lowest level in more than three and a half years in March, as overseas demand was hit by the coronavirus, the government said in a report on Monday.


According to the Finance Ministry, exports in the recording period dropped 11.7 percent to 6.36 trillion yen (59.03 billion U.S. dollars), marking the biggest fall since 2016.


In the same period, the ministry said that imports retreated 5.0 percent to 6.35 trillion yen (58.94 billion U.S. dollars), owing to slumping prices for energy-linked imports.


As a result, the goods trade surplus stood at 4.9 billion yen (45.48 million U.S. dollars), the ministry's preliminary data showed.


In terms of specific countries and regions, exports to the United States tumbled 16.5 percent to the lowest level since April 2011, as demand fell amid virus-linked lockdowns and shuttered businesses in the world's largest economy.


Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, dropped 8.7 percent in the recording period, while imports from China edged down just 4.5 percent, as the world's second largest economy has resumed production operations after being hit by the virus, a harbinger of rebound in industrial production.


Exports to the European Union, meanwhile, fell 11.1 percent amid severe lockdowns including those in Italy and France, the ministry said.


Exports to all of Asia in the recording period decreased 9.4 percent.


As for fiscal 2019, the government said that imports and exports declined for the first time in three years amid downside factors including the virus pandemic and trade issues, with exports down 6 percent, while imports fell 6.3 percent.


Japan logged a goods trade deficit for the second straight year standing at 1.29 trillion yen (11.97 billion U.S. dollars), the ministry's figures showed.

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