Japan’s trade deficit stood at 953.4 billion yen for November, the third-biggest on record, as exports to China and Europe continued to shrink amid the global economic downturn, the government said Wednesday.
The deficit for the fifth straight month was slightly below market forecasts but also the largest for any November, marking a 37.9 percent rise from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report. It began recording comparable data in 1979.
Overall exports fell 4.1 percent to 4,983.9 billion yen, the sixth straight monthly decline, on slower exports of ships, automobiles and construction machinery. Imports grew 0.8 percent to 5,937.3 billion yen, the first increase in two months, affected by products such as smartphones and liquefied petroleum gas.
Exports to China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, slipped 14.5 percent to 858.7 billion yen, the sixth straight monthly fall, amid anti-Japan sentiment over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. Slower growth in the Chinese economy also weighed on exports.
The shipment of vehicles to Asia’s biggest economy fell as fast as 68.6 percent and auto parts 43.5 percent. The weaker results are affecting Japanese manufacturing.
Imports from China grew 5.8 percent to 1,406.2 billion yen. The trade balance with the country came to a deficit of 547.5 billion yen, the biggest for the month of November.