Japan reported a trade surplus of 139.6 billion JPY (1.2 billion USD) in September, but exports dropped by 1.2% yoy, which is the first decline since 2016. In addition to natural disasters, the uncertainty has been affected by the trade tensions after the US President Donald Trump imposed duties on Chinese imports for billions of dollars.
The weaker US-Chinese trade, as a whole, damages an export-oriented Japanese economy.
Japanese imports grew by 7% to 6.59 trillion JPY.
In September, a major earthquake rocked the northern island of Hokkaido, triggering landslides and power failure, while typhoon hit West Japan and led to a temporary closure at a large airport. These events were preceded by floods that took a human life in Southeast Japan and an Osaka earthquake earlier this year.
Japanese exports reported a decline for the first time since November 2016, when they declined by 0.4%.
The exports to China, which Japan’s largest trading partner, fell by 1.7% to 1.26 trillion JPY for the first time in seven months and imports rose by 4.2% to 1.63 trillion JPY.
US President Donald Trump’s administration plans to negotiate trade agreements with the EU, the UK and Japan. The US has recently reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).