Japan April exports see biggest slump since 2009; chemical shipments fall 6.3%

Author: Pearl Bantillo

2020/05/21

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s exports in April posted their sharpest decline since the global financial crisis of 2009, with chemical shipments down 6.3% year on year as external demand suffered ravages from the coronavirus pandemic.

Total exports of the world’s third-biggest economy shrank 21.9% year on year to yen (Y) 5.20tr ($48.3bn), while imports fell by 7.2% to Y6.13tr, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance.

The country posted a trade deficit of Y930.4bn in April.

Chemicals shipments in April totalled Y742.9bn. Plastic materials exports dipped 1.0% to Y211.6bn, with volumes down 9.6% year on year at 449,167 tonnes.

Japan’s overall April shipments to the US plunged 37.8%, while those to China declined by 4.1%. Exports to Asia as a whole fell by 11.4% while shipments to western Europe slumped 30.4%, the data showed.

The Japanese economy is in recession after posting two consecutive quarters of GDP decline, and is facing a sharper contraction in April to June.

Japan lifted its state of emergency in 39 of its 47 prefectures on 14 May and is looking at doing the same for a few more this week.

The state of emergency was declared on 7 April to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which started late last year in China. The virus has infected more than 4.8m people globally and killed more than 300,000.

As of 20 May, Japan had 16,385 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 771 deaths, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

($1 = Y107.6)

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