Japan exports slip despite uptick in trade with China

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TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s exports fell more than 4% from a year earlier in November, despite an uptick in trade with China, according to customs data released Wednesday.

Exports of vehicles, semiconductors and other manufactured items showed the biggest declines.

Imports fell by a larger margin of 11%, led by plunges in purchases of food, oil, coal and gas. That left a global trade surplus of 366.77 billion yen ($3.5 billion). Both imports and exports were weaker than forecast.

But he said that due to weakness in services exports, overall exports are not likely to return to pre-virus levels until the middle of next year.

Exports to China rose 3.8%, which was weaker than the 10% jump in October. Imports from China climbed nearly 7%. Exports to the United States fell 2.5% while imports sank 14%, leaving a balance of 588.3 billion yen ($5.7 billion).

China is Japan’s largest export market and its recovery from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic has helped it and other economies that are still struggling with a resurgence of outbreaks. The recovery in demand helped net trade boost Japan’s economic growth in the July-September quarter by nearly 3%.

It may also boost growth in this quarter, though a rebound in imports is also likely, Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics said in a report.

But he said that due to weakness in services exports, overall exports are not likely to return to pre-virus levels until the middle of next year.

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