Ja­pan ex­ports fall in Septem­ber, first de­cline since 2016

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - International Business - OC­TO­BER 19, 2018

JA­PAN recorded a trade sur­plus for Septem­ber of 139.6 bil­lion yen ($1.2 bil­lion), but ex­ports fell 1.2 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year in the first de­cline for the world’s third largest econ­omy since 2016.

A se­ries of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters took a toll, but the lag in ex­ports also re­flects un­cer­tain­ties over trade ten­sions after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump im­posed penalty tar­iffs on bil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of Chi­nese ex­ports. Weaker U.s.-china trade gen­er­ally hurts the ex­port-de­pen­dent Ja­panese econ­omy.

Im­ports rose 7 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased Thurs­day by the Min­istry of Fi­nance.

Dur­ing the month, a ma­jor earth­quake hit the north­ern­most is­land of Hokkaido, caus­ing fa­tal land­slides and wide­spread black­outs, while a ty­phoon struck the western Kan­sai area and tem­po­rar­ily shut down a ma­jor air­port.

Those events fol­lowed deadly flood­ing in south­west­ern Ja­pan and a quake in Osaka ear­lier this year. The last time Ja­pan’s ex­ports fell onyear was in Novem­ber 2016, when they slipped 0.4 per­cent, data show.

For the six months through Septem­ber, the first fis­cal half, ex­ports grew 5.2 per­cent, while im­ports rose 10 per­cent.

Ju­nichi Makino, an­a­lyst with SMBC Nikko Se­cu­ri­ties, said one fac­tor be­hind the num­bers was the re­cent rise in oil prices, which boosts the value of Ja­pan’s im­ports. Ja­pan im­ports al­most all its oil. But Makino said the vol­ume of global trade was hold­ing up over­all de­spite the trade war be­tween China and the U.S.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in­tends to pur­sue trade agree­ments with the Euro­pean Union and Bri­tain, as well as Ja­pan. The ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently reached a deal with Canada and Mex­ico to re­vamp the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

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