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    Japan exports sink on weaker trade with China, US

    TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s exports fell eight per cent in August from a year earlier, as trade tensions took a growing toll on demand across the region.

    Exports of machinery, vehicles and chemicals all declined, the Finance Ministry reported yesterday.

    Exports totaled JPY6.1 trillion (USD56 billion), while imports slipped 12 per cent, the fastest rate in almost three years, to JPY6.3 trillion (USD58 billion), suggesting slack demand inside Japan.

    Shipments to the United States (US) slipped 4.4 per cent in dollar terms, to JPY1.2 trillion (USD11 billion), while imports from US dropped nine per cent to 718.4 billion yen (USD6.6 billion). The surplus with the US rose nearly four per cent, the report said.

    Trade with China took a bigger hit, with exports sinking 12 per cent and imports down more than eight per cent. Exports to most other Asian countries also fell.

    The yen’s growing strength against other currencies was a factor. But overall export volumes fell nearly six per cent and import volumes also fell by six per cent as trade tensions between the US and China and between Japan and South Korea reverberated across supply chains.

    Trade could rebound in coming months, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

    “The big picture, though, is that exports are likely to remain weak over the coming year,” he said.

    A government survey of businesses released yesterday showed sentiment at its worst since the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami which devastated a swathe of Japan’s northeastern coast.

    Honda cars for export park at Yokohama port. PHOTO: AP

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