Japan exports slump due to earthquake and tsunami devastation

| May 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Ministry of Finance has today revealed Japan’s exports plunged by in April – hit by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Official figures revealed exports fell by 12.5% in April on an annual basis as the twin disasters forced some of Japan’s largest exporters to halt production.

Meanwhile, imports surged by 8.9% in April on year on the back of higher prices for commodities.

Japan has been forced to import large amounts of fuel, after the catastrophes hit electricity generating plants.

The drop in exports meant the country’s trade balance swung into a deficit of 463.7 billion yen (£3.5 billion) – less than analysts’ expectations.

The Japanese economy, which is the world’s third largest, emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2009 – much sooner than many other economies – driven by export demand.

However, the earthquake and tsunami have impacted negatively on growth and figures last week revealed that Japan has been pushed back into recession in the first quarter of the year.

The economy contracted by 0.9% in the January to March period.

Today’s figures sent Asian stock markets lower with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 down 0.4% to 9,443.04, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.9% to 2,043.79 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.6%.

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