JAPAN’S FIRST HALF EXPORTS SINK BY 15.4%
Japan's exports in the first half of 2020 fell 15.4 percent from a year earlier, posting the largest year-on-year drop in more than 10 years, as the new coronavirus pandemic weighed heavily on overseas demand for cars and other industrial goods, government data showed Monday, Kyodo news agency reported late on July 20, 2020.
But economists expect the drop in exports to slow in the second half, with the impact of the virus outbreak waning gradually as many countries reopen their economies and set up stimulus measures to revive weakened demand.
Exports in the January-June period fell to 32.36 trillion yen ($300 billion), logging the steepest dive on a half-yearly basis since a 22.8 percent plunge in the second half of 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, according to a preliminary report by the Finance Ministry.
The sharp drop reflects a 30.9 fall in car exports, the biggest decline since a 34.4 percent drop in the 2009 second half. Exports of auto parts declined 29 percent. The world's third-largest economy logged a goods trade deficit of 2.24 trillion yen in the six-month period, the biggest since 5.19 trillion yen logged in the latter half of 2014. It marked the fourth consecutive half-year period of red ink. Imports fell 11.6 percent from the previous year to 34.60 trillion yen, the sharpest drop since a 14.4 percent slide in the second half of 2016, reflecting a drop in domestic demand under a nationwide state of emergency to stem the virus spread for about a month from the middle of April.