Japan’s exports and imports ramp up amid global pandemic recovery

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s exports in June jumped 48.6% from a year earlier, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Imports for the month increased 32.7%, totaling 6.83 trillion yen ($ 62 billion). Exports for the month totaled 7.2 trillion yen ($ 66 billion), according to government data.

The increases were exaggerated by a drop in trade last year due to the pandemic. But they point to the recovery of the world’s third-largest economy as a global rebound in trade and travel activity stimulates demand.

Exports to the United States jumped 86% in June from a year earlier, driven by shipments of cars and computer parts. Exports to China rose 28%, with strong growth in vehicles, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and computer parts, the data showed.

Japan recorded a trade surplus of 985 billion yen ($ 9 billion) in the first half of the year, the second consecutive surplus in a row.

The economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, shrinking at a revised annual rate of 3.9% in January-March, as COVID-related restrictions reduced domestic demand. Data due to be released next month should show the contraction continued into the second quarter.

Concerns are growing over the surge in coronavirus infections, as tens of thousands of athletes, team officials and other dignitaries enter the country for the Tokyo Olympics, which open this week.

About 15,000 Japanese have died so far and just over a fifth of the population is fully immunized. Dozens of people affiliated with the Games have already tested positive for the virus.

Japan has never had a lockdown, but parts of the country, including Tokyo, have been under a government “state of emergency” much of the year, with restaurants and bars closing early to minimize disruption. gatherings of crowds.

The government expects the economy to recover as the vaccine rollout becomes widespread by the end of this year.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama


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