Home » Customs & Trade » Japan’s May exports reel from disasters, fall 10.3 percent

Exports from Japan shrank 10.3 percent in May from the same month last year. The finance ministry reported on June 20 that exports dropped to 4.76 trillion yen ($6 billion) from 5.30 trillion yen month-on-month.

Imports in May this year rose 12.3 percent to 5.61 trillion yen, resulting in a trade deficit of 85 billion yen.

Economists attributed the export decline to the country’s continuing struggle to recover from the devastation left behind by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

A stay in the trade deficit in the coming months is expected, they said, as power and parts shortages hamper automobile shipments, and fuel imports rise to replace the loss of nuclear power needed for production and recovery efforts.

Japan also posted a custom-cleared trade gap of 853.7 billion yen in May, the government said.

The state report follows a revised forecast in April by a research firm that Japan’s containerized cargo exports will slow down in fiscal 2011 as the impact of the disaster remains felt in the country’s northeastern section.

Nine important Japanese ports will see containerized cargo exports increase by only 0.2 percent in fiscal 2011, which began on April 1, to 5.302 million TEUs. The slowdown comes after an 8.8 percent hike in the previous fiscal year, said the Nittsu Research Institute and Consulting (NRIC).

The NRIC report also predicts that Japanese air cargo exports will go up by only 0.2 percent in fiscal 2011 to 1.132 million tons after rising 14.3 percent in fiscal 2010.

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