Japan Enjoys Brisk Exports Despite U.S. Woes

March 26, 2008
Shipments to China surged 14.9%, led by vehicles and auto parts.

Japanese exports maintained brisk growth in February as strong demand from Asia and Europe offset the impact of falling shipments to the ailing U.S. economy, the government said March 26. Exports grew 8.7% in February to 6.98 trillion yen as imports rose 10.1% to 6.01 trillion yen, the finance ministry said.

Shipments to Asia rose by 13.9% and to the European Union by 7.2%. Shipments to China surged 14.9%, led by vehicles and auto parts.

Analysts, however, warned that Japan's export-led recovery remained vulnerable to a U.S. recession, particularly as many of its shipments to the rest of Asia are parts for goods that end up in Europe and the United States.

Japan's trade surplus rose 0.9% in February from a year earlier to 969.97 billion yen (US$9.7 billion), the finance ministry reported. Market forecasts had been for a larger surplus of about 1.12 trillion yen.

U.S.-bound exports dropped 6%, down for a sixth straight month -- the longest period of decline since 2004. Motor vehicle shipments to the U.S. dropped 8.%. Exports of motorbikes fell 16.6% and of construction and mining equipment by 28.1%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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