Japan's exports, imports zoom amid world pandemic recovery

Japan has reported its exports in June jumped 49% from a year earlier, marking the fourth straight month of growth

TOKYO -- Japan’s exports in June jumped 48.6% from the year before, marking the fourth straight month of growth, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

Imports for the month grew 32.7%, totaling 6.83 trillion yen ($62 billion). Exports for the month totaled 7.2 trillion yen ($66 billion), according to government data.

The increases were exaggerated by a plunge in trade last year due to the pandemic. But they highlight the recovery in the world’s third largest economy as a global rebound in business activity and travel boosts demand.

Exports to the U.S. surged 86% in June from a year earlier, led by shipments of cars and computer parts. Exports to China rose 28%, with strong growth in vehicles, semiconductor making equipment and computer parts, the data showed.

Japan logged a trade surplus of 985 billion yen ($9 billion) in the first half of the year, the second straight surplus in a row.

The economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, shrinking at a revised annual rate of 3.9% in January-March, as COVID-related restrictions crimped domestic demand. Data due to be disclosed next month are likely to show the contraction continued into the second quarter.

Japan has never had a lockdown, but parts of the nation, including Tokyo, have been under a government “state of emergency” much of the year, with restaurants and bars closing early to minimize crowds gathering.

The government expects the economy to come roaring back as the vaccine rollout becomes more widespread by the end of this year.

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