Japanese export ship orders tumbled 43.5 percent in April from a year earlier to 515,768 gross tons, according to figures released by the Japan Ship Exporters’ Association.
The sharp decline in April followed an increase of 8.6 percent in March, the first rise in four months on a year-on-year basis.
Japanese shipbuilders received orders for 10 export ships — nine bulk carriers and one tanker — in April. The 10 ships total 222,809 compensated gross tons.
In fiscal 2011, which ended on March 31, Japanese export ship orders had plunged 34.9 percent from the previous fiscal year to about 8.081 million gross tons. Japanese shipbuilders received orders for 198 export ships, which totaled about 3.929 million compensated gross tons.
Japan is one of the world’s top shipbuilding nations along with South Korea and China. But Japanese shipbuilders are now struggling as demand for new vessels among ship owners is flagging amid a slowdown in the global economy due largely to the deep European debt crisis.
Japanese shipbuilders are also facing increasingly tough competition with their South Korean and Chinese rivals amid the steep appreciation of the yen, which badly erodes their international price competitiveness as it makes Japanese products more expensive abroad.
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