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Japanese exports drop at a record pace

December 22, 2008|Associated Press

TOKYO — Japanese exports plunged a record 26.7% in November from a year earlier on falling demand amid a deepening global recession, the finance ministry said today.

Japan's trade deficit totaled 223.4 billion yen ($2.5 billion) as exports dropped to 5.3 trillion yen ($60 billion), the ministry said.

This was the biggest drop in exports since the current system of statistics took effect in 1980.

"The plunge in exports in November clearly reflected a severe global downturn. Demand for Japanese goods, especially cars and electronics products, is falling sharply everywhere," ministry official Yu Oki said.

Exports to the United States, the world's largest economy, nose-dived a record 33.8% in November, marking the 15th consecutive year-on-year fall.

Among U.S.-bound shipments, vehicle exports plummeted 44% in the month, while exports of auto parts fell 40% and those of audio equipment were down 48.2%.

Japan's exports to the European Union tumbled 30.8%, with vehicle shipments to the region falling 37.2%, the ministry said.

Asia-bound exports fell 26.7% as semiconductor shipments dropped 30.2%. Japan's exports to China alone plunged 24.5%.

Hit by weakening global demand and a strong yen, Japan's top exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. have announced job cuts and lower profit projections.

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