TOKYO: Japan's exports dived 11.7 percent in March from a year before, its fastest decline since July 2016, as the coronavirus pandemic is slowing global trade, government data showed Monday.
The country's exports totaled 6,357.9 billion yen, falling for the 16th straight month, according to the preliminary customs-cleared trade data from the Finance Ministry.
Exports of automobiles, ships, engines and semiconductor manufacturing equipment dropped sharply.
Japan logged a 16.5 percent drop in exports to the United States, an 11.1 percent fall to the European Union and an 8.7 percent decline to mainland China.
The pandemic also weighed on Japan's imports, which fell 5.0 percent to 6,352.9 billion yen in the 11th consecutive month of decrease.
Imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas declined due to falling energy prices.
The country's trade surplus narrowed 99.0 percent to 4.9 billion yen, far below the median forecast of 454.6 billion yen in a Jiji Press survey of economic research institutes.
Japan's trade surplus with the United States shrank 35.7 percent to 436.8 billion yen. In trade with mainland China, Japan's deficit expanded to 241.2 billion yen from 194.6 billion yen.
For fiscal 2019, which ended last month, Japan's trade deficit shrank to 1,291.2 billion yen from 1,609.1 billion yen the previous year.
Exports fell 6.0 percent to 75,880 billion yen, and imports were down 6.3 percent at 77,171.3 billion yen.