Overseas shipments slumped 45.6 percent from a year earlier, compared with February’s unprecedented 49.4 percent plunge, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo.
The drop in shipments to the U.S. and China, Japan’s two largest markets, slowed.
Shipments to China sank 31.5 percent in March compared with a year earlier, after falling 39.7 percent in the previous month. Exports to the U.S. fell 51.4 percent after dropping 58.4 in February. On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports rose 2.2 percent from February, the first increase since May.
Reports from the U.S. also suggest that world trade may have bottomed. Shipments from the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle about 40 percent of U.S. container traffic, grew on a month-to-month basis in February and March.
Japanese manufacturers surveyed by the Trade Ministry last month said they plan to increase output in March and April, putting an end to a five-month slump in output, after drawing down stockpiles at an unprecedented pace.
Plunging exports resulted in a 725 billion yen trade deficit in the year ended March 31, the first shortfall in 28 years, today’s report showed.