Japan exports slump as global demand dwindles
Japan’s March exports declined the most in four years as demand from China, Europe, and the U.S. fell at the fastest pace since 2011.
Monday’s gloomy data highlighted the pandemic-caused damages on global trade as many prepare for the third-largest economy to reach its biggest drop since the Great Depression.
Japan’s Ministry of Finance reported exports falling further than expected by 11.7% in the year to March. Following a 1% in February, it was seen as the biggest slump since July 2016.
Imports also declined by 5% after previously dropping by 13.9% in February, bringing the country’s trade balance to a surplus of ¥4.9 billion ($45.47 billion).
Exports to China, Japan’s major trading partner, dipped by 8.7% in the year to March. Meanwhile, exports to the U.S. plummeted by 16.5% year-on-year, the biggest since April 2011 and exports to Europe dropped by 11.1%.
In Asia, where demand accounts for more than half of Japan’s exports, slid by 9.4% as the virus continues to spread.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy is predicted to contract by 3% in 2020 as the virus-led inactivity could cause the steepest decline since the 1930s.