Japan’s exports to the rest of the world sank at an accelerated pace in early May in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11.
According to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry, Japan’s overall exports plunged 13.6 percent between May 1 and May 10 from the same period last year, to $10.6 billion.
Japan’s overall imports surged 23.6 percent in the reporting period from a year earlier to $18.5 billion. Between April 21 and 30, Japan’s overall imports had dropped 1.7 percent on a year-on-year basis.
As a result, Japan incurred a deficit of $7.9 billion in its trade with the rest of the world during the May 1-10 period, up nearly three-fold from $2.7 billion a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Japan’s industrial production edged up 1 percent in April from March, according to preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
But the small rise in the seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing production index follows a 15.5 percent fall in March, the biggest decline on record. And industrial production in April posted a year-on-year decline of 14 percent.
METI said industrial output should continue to recover. Industrial output will rise 8 percent in May and 7.7 percent in June on a month-on-month basis, according to the manufacturers’ own forecasts, METI said.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association also said domestic auto production fell at its fastest pace on record on a year-on-year basis in April, plummeting 60.1 percent to 292,001 vehicles.
It was the first time in 44 years that domestic auto production had dropped below the 300,000-vehicle level.