Japan’s exports plummet after its natural disasters

JAPAN’S exports fell 12.5 per cent in April from a year earlier, pushing the country into its first trade deficit in three months, after the earthquake in March disrupted supply chains and hurt output.

The country’s trade balance fell into a deficit of 463.7bn yen (£3.5bn).

Imports rose 8.9 per cent in the year to April, though less than the median forecast for a 12.3 per cent increase, due to higher commodity costs and domestic supply shortages caused by the disaster.

Analysts expect Japan to log a trade deficit in the second-quarter, as the effects of the earthquake and tsunami linger, but see it returning to a surplus in the fourth-quarter as supply constraints ease.