Japanese car sales in China fall off a cliff

 
Ben Southwood
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JAPANESE car sales in China tumbled last month, data revealed yesterday, as the diplomatic spat over the Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain fed through into consumer decision making.

Toyota’s sales in China plummeted 48.9 per cent in September compared to a year earlier, while Honda sales dived 40.5 per cent, Nissan’s plunged 35.3 per cent and Suzuki’s slumped 42.5 per cent.

“Inventories are growing, factories are operating less, and retail is not going well at all,” said Koji Endo at Advanced Research Japan. “I don’t see a single factor that is positive.”

Combined with the impact of Chinese slowdown, Japanese investors were spooked, wiping 1.1 per cent off the value of stocks on the Nikkei index.

The monthly economic report from the Bank of Japan was also gloomy, warning that international weakness would depress factory output in the fourth quarter.

One nugget of reassuring data for Japan yesterday was the 4.2 per cent increase in the current account surplus in August, driven by improved returns on Japan’s huge portfolio of overseas assets.