Japan exports slide for 6th month as trade troubles knock demand

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Daniel Leussink TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's exports fell for a sixth straight month in May as China-bound shipments of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and car parts weakened, underlining persistent pressure on the trade-reliant economy from slowing external demand. Sluggish exports have been a source of concern among Japanese policymakers, especially as a bruising U.S.-China tariff war has upended supply chains and hit global growth, trade and investment

Reuters June 19, 2019 07:05:13 IST
Japan exports slide for 6th month as trade troubles knock demand

Japan exports slide for 6th month as trade troubles knock demand

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's exports fell for a sixth straight month in May as China-bound shipments of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and car parts weakened, underlining persistent pressure on the trade-reliant economy from slowing external demand.

Sluggish exports have been a source of concern among Japanese policymakers, especially as a bruising U.S.-China tariff war has upended supply chains and hit global growth, trade and investment.

Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Wednesday that exports declined 7.8% in May from a year earlier, down for the sixth straight month.

The fall in shipments compared with a 7.7% annual decrease expected by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed a 2.4% year-on-year fall in April.

The trade data comes on the heels of a Reuters poll of Japanese companies showing the economy is likely to stop expanding this year and into next as the Sino-U.S. trade war and a planned sales tax hike are expected to crimp activity.

Earlier this month, Group of 20 finance leaders warned that intensifying trade and geopolitical tensions raised risks to global growth, but they stopped short of calling for a resolution of the deepening U.S.-China trade conflict.

The slowdown in exports in May was also likely caused by suspension of factory activity due to the 10-day break as the Golden Week holiday was extended this year to mark the enthronement of a new emperor, analysts say.

Overall, however, weak global demand poses risks for the world's third-biggest economy, and faltering earnings at Japan Inc. suggests little respite in the months ahead especially if domestic demand fails to offset frail exports.

At the two-day meeting that ends on Thursday, the Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy steady but signal its readiness to ramp up stimulus if growing overseas risks threaten the economy's modest expansion.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.