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Little relief for Japan: exports plummet 50% in February

Thursday, March 26th 2009 - 17:31 UTC
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Prime Minister Taro Aso Prime Minister Taro Aso

Japanese Finance Ministry officials said the nation's exports saw a nearly 50% decline in February from the previous year, the country's sharpest slide in more than two decades.

Exports tumbled 49.4% last month from a year earlier as deepening recessions in the United States and Europe cut demand for Japanese electronics and cars.

According to Japan's official statistics, shipments to the United States, Japan's biggest auto market, tumbled 58.4% from last year, while exports to EU countries were down 55%. Economists say it is unlikely that Japan's exports will recover soon.

Imports also plummeted by 43%, the fourth month in a row. The import drop includes falling prices for oil and other commodities, as well as lower imports of finished goods.

As a result Japan’s trade surplus dived 91.2% last month from a year earlier to 840 million US dollars. But it was the first surplus in five months.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is compiling his third stimulus for the country as some of its biggest companies from Toyota to Panasonic fire thousands of workers.

Last month's drop is the largest since the Japanese government began keeping comparable data in 1980.

The record plunge puts Japan on course for its worst recession since World War II.

In the last quarter of 2008, Japan's economy logged its worst performance in 35 years as its economy shrunk at an annualized pace of 12.1%.

Categories: Economy, International.

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