Japan’s Exports Fall An Annual 49% In February

Japan’s exports fell by a record 49.4 percent in February as deepening recessions in the U.S. and Europe, and a sharp slowdown in China hit demand for Japanese products around the globe. Shipments to the U.S., still Japan’s biggest market, dropped an unprecedented 58.4 percent from a year earlier. Car exports were down 70.9 percent. This follows January’s year on year drop of 45.7%.

February’s drop in exports was the greatest since at least 1980, when the government started to keep comparable data.

Japan’s ageing population and workforce has lead it to become increasingly reliant on exports for GDP growth, as consumer demand stagnates internally. Japan is thus especially sensitive to changes in world trade patterns, and with the World Trade Organization forecasting trade will shrink 9 percent this year (the most since World War II) Japan looks especially vulnerable. During Japan’s expansion of 2002 to 2007, exports rose as a portion of GDP to 15.6 percent from 10.4 percent.

And it isn’t only Japan which will be affected by this, since imports were down by 43%, and of course China is quite dependent on exports it sends to Japan.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".