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  • By The Financial District

Drop In China-Bound Exports Stokes Fear In Japan

Japan's export growth slowed sharply in December as China-bound shipments fell for the first time in seven months, stoking fears of further slowdown in the global economy and external demand for Japanese shipments, Tetsushi Kajimoto reported for Reuters.

Photo Insert: The weak data dashes policymakers' hopes for an export-led recovery from the pandemic.

Exports rose 11.5% year-on-year in December after a 20% gain in November, marking the slowest growth since the start of 2022, dragged down by a falloff in sales to China of cars, auto parts, and chip-making machinery, Ministry of Finance data (MOF) showed on Thursday.

The weak data dashes policymakers' hopes for an export-led recovery from the pandemic, putting more pressure on the government to persuade Japanese firms to accelerate wage hikes to help boost domestic demand.

Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, fell 6.2% year-on-year in value and were down by 24% in terms of volume in December.

"The unexpected stalling of the Chinese economy came on top of slowdown in Europe and America. In the worst case, it may deal a blow to Japanese exports, which could in turn hit Japan's factory output and capital expenditure," said Atsushi Takeda, chief economist at ITOCHU Research Institute.

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