Japan’s trade shrinks in November

JAPAN’S national flag flies near a container port Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Tokyo. Japan’s exports fell slightly in November, 2023, from a year earlier, the first decline in three months, while imports were down nearly 12 percent.
JAPAN’S national flag flies near a container port Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Tokyo. Japan’s exports fell slightly in November, 2023, from a year earlier, the first decline in three months, while imports were down nearly 12 percent. AP

TOKYO — Japan’s exports fell slightly in November from a year earlier, the first decline in three months, while imports were down nearly 12 percent, the government reported Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023.

Tepid global demand has been a drag on Japan’s economy, which depends heavily on export manufacturing.

Recent weakness of the Japanese yen against the dollar has meanwhile undercut its purchasing power for imports, though costs for oil and gas have fallen with a decline in oil prices since September.

Preliminary customs data show that exports in November fell .2 percent to 8.8 trillion Japanese yen ($61 billion) while imports declined 11.9 percent to 9.6 trillion yen ($66 billion). That left a deficit of 776.9 trillion yen ($5.4 billion).

Exports to Asian markets

Exports to the rest of Asia were down four percent, while exports to the U.S. rose more than five percent. Shipments to China, Japan’s biggest single overseas market, fell more than two percent.

Japan’s exports of vehicles were a strong point, rising 11 percent from a year earlier, while computer chip shipments climbed 14 percent.

The outlook for exports is a “mixed picture,” Gabriel Ng of Capital Economics said in a research note, with new export orders falling steadily since August this year.

“We think that that external demand will likely be sluggish next year, especially as investment spending in main trading partners slows,” Ng said.

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