Shipments abroad fell 39.1 percent from a year earlier, after dropping 45.5 percent in March, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. From a month earlier, exports rose 1.9 percent, a second straight gain.
Exports to the U.S., China and Europe all fell at the slowest pace this year, adding weight to Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s contention that the economy will resume growing this quarter after a record contraction in the previous three months. U.S. consumer confidence jumped the most in six years, a report showed yesterday, and China’s $586 billion stimulus package is spurring demand for Japanese machinery.
Imports fell 35.8 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said, and the trade surplus narrowed 85 percent to 69 billion yen ($725 million). Economists predicted a deficit of 55 billion yen and a drop in exports of 42 percent.
Exports to the U.S. fell 46.3 percent last month, less than March’s 51.4 percent decline. Shipments to China dropped 25.8 percent, moderating from 31.6 percent, and sales to Europe slid 45.4 percent from 56.1 percent.