After recording a surprise trade surplus in October, Japan’s trade balance went into reverse in November, recording a deficit of 379.7 billion yen.
Although smaller than the 446.2 billion deficit predicted, the figure was largely due to exports and imports declining at a faster pace than expected.
From a year earlier exports fell by 3.3%, below the 2.1% contraction of October and expectations for a decline of 1.5%. It was the steepest annual decline recorded since December 2012.
Exports to the US rose by 2.0%, down from 6.3% growth seen in the year to October. Exports to Asia, largely as a result of a 8.1% decline to China, fell by 8.7%, far greater than the 3.6% decline seen previously.
On the other side of the ledger, imports fell by 10.2% – smaller than the 13.3% drop of October, but below expectations for a contraction of 8.3%.