05/27/2010, 00.00
JAPAN
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Japanese exports up, fuelled by demand in China and Asia

In April, Japanese exports jump by 40.4 per cent. This is the fifth consecutive month of growth, especially in cars and high-tech. Demand is especially strong in Asia, less in Europe.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – For a fifth straight month, Japan's exports expanded in April, by 40.4 per cent, fuelled by brisk overseas demand for cars and high-tech goods, this according to figures released today by the Finance Ministry.

Japan's auto exports in April more than doubled from a year earlier, with semiconductor shipments up 35.5 per cent.

Japan's auto exports to the United States and Asia, including mainland China, rose significantly. Auto shipments to the European Union also surged 49.7 per cent year-on-year.

Experts are broadly optimistic about Japan’s prospects. In their view, data show strong recovery of the world economy, partly because it involves demand for basic items used in everyday life whose purchase customers can put off to better times.

Cars and high-tech are vital: Japan leads the world in both in terms of output, development and innovation.

A strong recovery in these sectors will boost investment and employment, stimulating domestic consumption.

Japan's imports also rose in April, by 24.2 per cent to 5.1 trillion yen, leaving it with a healthy trade surplus of 742 billion yen.

Other analysts note however that exports to Europe involve orders from previous months; they have taken a wait-and-see attitude in view of the debt crisis in the Euro zone.

With sales to Europe increasing “only” 19.8 per cent, less than in previous months, Japan is turning towards Asia, which accounts for 56 per cent of its total shipments. Hence, the European crisis does not appear to be dampening Japan’s recovery. In fact, exports to mainland China alone jumped 41.4 per cent.

A slowdown in exports to Europe is also the consequence of a stronger yen, which gained about 14 per cent against the euro this month, raising the cost of Japanese goods in Europe.

Overall, Japan’s annualized growth GDP rose 4.9 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

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