Japan’s exports showed the weakest pace for growth in more than two years in April as shipment to China fell amid weak global demand.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday, exports for April rose 2.6% from a year earlier, which was lower than a 3.0% growth expected by economists in a Reuters poll and a 4.3% increase in March. Growth in April was the weakest since February 2021 when the reading contracted 4.5%.
Meanwhile, imports fell 2.3% in April, much larger than an estimate for a 0.3% drop. This marked its first annual decrease in 27 months, pressured by rising energy costs and weakening yen.
The trade deficit was 432.4 billion yen.
Gross domestic product data for January-March showed exports plunged 4.2% during the period, posting the first quarterly decline in 18 months.
Outbound to China, its biggest trading partner, in April fell 2.9% from a year earlier amid slowing down in car exports, parts and steel. Shipment to Asia fell 6.3% YoY, while exports to the U.S. and European Union rose 10.5% and 11.7%, respectively.