Japan’s Exports Tumble, Decline Slowing
Japanese exports tumbled in April as expected, but the data also shows the Japanese economy may be bottoming out.
Exports fell 12.5 percent, led by a slump in auto output.
This reinforces the view that the economy is headed for a third straight quarter of contraction for the April to June period.
But analysts point out that the month-on-month decline in exports is slowing, as manufacturers move to restore capacity lost to the March earthquake.
April exports fell 5.5 percent on month, after an 8 percent drop the previous month. Some economists see exports hitting a bottom this month.
This scenario would match the central bank’s, which is for growth to resume in the second half onwards. This also suggests the Bank of Japan would refrain from further policy easing ahead.
Imports for April rose a less-than-expected 8.9 percent, showing reconstruction demand has not kicked in yet amid weakness in domestic demand.
The numbers swing Japan into a deficit of $5.7 billion (463.7 billion yen), the first trade deficit in three months.