Japanese exports slip as pressures impact economy

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JAPAN’s exports slipped for the first time in three months in November, in a fresh sign of pressure on the economy as it struggles to recover from a contraction over the summer, reports Bloomberg.

Exports fell 0.2 per cent from a year earlier as shipments of steel and chip-making equipment continued to fall, said the finance ministry.

Economists had forecast a 1.4 per cent increase. Imports dropped 11.9 per cent helped by further falls in the overall value of gas and coal purchases. That compared with the consensus for an 8.6 per cent decline.

The slip in exports amid a global slowdown suggests Japan’s economy may not get as much support from overseas demand as hoped to help it recover from its sharpest contraction since the height of the pandemic in the third quarter.

The Bank of Japan noted in its October outlook report that exports and production “are projected to be more or less flat for the time being, affected by the slowdown in the pace of recovery in overseas economies.” That’s despite weakness in the yen, which would normally support overseas shipments.

“It will take time for external demand to recover, and domestic demand has also been sluggish for a while, especially demand for goods,” said Chisato Oshiba, an economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute. “The absence of a driving force will continue to be a concern for the Japanese economy for some time.”