With exports plunging, Japan posts trade deficit

A strong yen coupled with plunging US-bound exports has seen Japan report a rare trade deficit of $2.5 billion, according to the Japanese finance ministry.


AFP - Japan reported a trade deficit of 223.4 billion yen (2.5 billion dollars) in November as exports fell at their fastest-ever rate, official figures showed Monday.

The deficit, which was larger than a market average forecast of 208 billion yen, reversed a surplus of 784.4 billion yen a year earlier.

Overall exports tumbled 26.7 percent from a year earlier to 5,326.6 billion yen, the steepest decline in comparable data dating back to 1980, according to the finance ministry.

US-bound exports plunged 33.8 percent, also the fastest pace on record, to 993.9 billion yen while shipments to the European Union tumbled 30.8 percent to 711.2 billion yen.

Exports to the rest of Asia fell 26.7 percent to 2,577.5 billion yen.

Overall imports shrank 14.4 percent to 5,550.0 billion yen on lower oil prices, marking the first drop in 14 months.

Japan has historically enjoyed a large trade surplus thanks to brisk demand for its cars and other goods but the recent financial turmoil and a strong yen has hit exports hard.

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