A decline in US consumer spending has started showing
its effects on the Japanese economy, its biggest trading
partner. Japan''s exports to the US fell for the first
time in two years even as its exports to the fast-growing
Asian and European markets increased.
to the US dropped 4.8 per cent, the steepest fall since
exports rose 8.3 per cent in April from a year earlier,
down from 10.3 per cent in March, the ministry of finance
said in Tokyo.
to the US, the destination of a fifth of Japanese exports
grew the slowest in four years with the weakening of
US consumer spending, especially in car sales. Exports
to all other regions rose, with those to Asia climbing
at the fastest pace in three months.
of cars fell 7.5 per cent, the biggest decline since
April 2004 when they slid 15.1 per cent. Autos represent
about 10 per cent of Japan''s exports to the US.
Motor Corp., the world''s largest carmaker by market
value, is shifting production to factories in Canada,
Russia and China to beat a US slowdown. Sales growth
in North America, Toyota''s largest market, is expected
to slow to 1.6 per cent this fiscal from 15 per cent.
orders in Japan fell 4.5 per cent in March and companies
said they expect orders to plunge 11.8 per cent this
US economy expanded by an annualised 1.3 per cent in
the first quarter, the slowest pace since 2003.
weak yen also failed to counter the slump in demand.
The Japanese currency fell 1.5 per cent against the
dollar in April from the same month a year ago, while
the euro surged 12 per cent against the yen in the same
yen was ruling at 121.57 a dollar in early Tokyo trading.
data, however, show economic growth in the US may accelerate.
Consumer sentiment rose in May for the first time in
four months since January helped by strong growth in
the labor and stock markets.