Japan’s exports plunge 11% in 2020, largest drop in 11 years due...

Japan’s exports plunge 11% in 2020, largest drop in 11 years due to pandemic

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Japan’s 2020 auto and parts exports slumped 20.0% and 19.1% from 2019
  • Exports in 2020 stood at US$662 billion, the lowest level since 2012
  • The fall of 11.1% last year is the steepest decline since a 33.1% dive booked in 2009 due to the global financial crisis
  • Imports dropped 13.8% to JPY67.73 trillion, the lowest value since JPY66.04 trillion was booked for 2016

Japan’s exports in 2020 tumbled 11.1% from a year earlier, marking the largest fall in 11 years as the COVID-19 pandemic hurt demand for the country’s products, particularly automobiles, the government said in a January 21 report.

According to the Finance Ministry, exports in the recording period stood at JPY68.41 trillion (US$662 billion), the lowest level since the JPY63.75 trillion logged in 2012, reported Xinhua News.

The yearly decline marked the steepest since a 33.1% dive booked for 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the ministry’s preliminary figures showed.

Japan’s key exports of automobiles and related parts slumped 20.0% and 19.1%, respectively, from 2019, according to the ministry’s data.

Overall imports dropped 13.8% to JPY67.73 trillion, owing to the falling price of crude oil among other energy resources, with the figure marking the lowest since JPY66.04 trillion was booked for 2016.

Japan goods trade surplus for 2020 stood at JPY674.73 billion, the ministry said. This is the country’s first swing to black ink in three years.

With the United States, Japan’s goods trade surplus in 2020 fell 21.6% to JPY5.19 trillion.

Exports to the United States tumbled 17.3% to JPY12.61 trillion, with exports of cars slipping 19.2%.

Imports to the world’s largest economy, meanwhile, dropped 4.0% to JPY7.43 trillion, said the ministry.

Exports to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, rose 2.7% to JPY15.08 trillion, while imports fell 5.3% to JPY17.48 trillion, leading to a trade deficit of JPY2.39 trillion, the ministry said.

Japan’s trade deficit with the European Union declined 1.5% to JPY1.33 trillion, with exports down 14.6% to JPY6.46 trillion, while imports declined 12.6% to JPY7.79 trillion.

In December 2020, however, exports increased for the first time year-on-year in 25 months, expanding 2.0% from a year earlier to JPY6.71 trillion, ending the longest streak of monthly declines on record, the ministry’s data showed.

Imports in December 2020 were down 11.6% to JPY5.96 trillion, dropping for a 20th straight month and leading to a goods trade surplus of JPY751.01 billion, the sixth straight month of surplus logged, the ministry said.

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