Japan logs first trade deficit since 2015

[TOKYO] Japan logged a trade deficit last year for the first time since 2015, with exports shrinking amid tensions between the country’s two biggest trading partners — China and the United States.

Japan logged the deficit of 1,203 billion yen (S$14.95 billion) in 2018 after two years of surplus, with annual growth in exports slowing to 4.1 per cent from 11.8 per cent in 2017, according to the finance ministry data released Wednesday.

Exports to China increased 6.8 per cent, markedly slower than the previous year’s 20.5 per cent growth.

Japan logged the deficit of 1,203 billion yen (S$14.95 billion) in 2018 after two years of surplus, with annual growth in exports slowing to 4.1 per cent from 11.8 per cent in 2017, according to the finance ministry data released Wednesday.

Growth in shipments to the United States slowed to 2.3 per cent from 6.9 per cent. “US-bound exports were not strong but still solid, whereas shipments to Asia, notably to China, slowed down,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

“US-China trade tensions should be blamed for that,” he told AFP.

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/japan-logs-first-trade-deficit-since-2015