Japan logs 1st trade deficit on record in electronics for half-year period

Japan logged a trade deficit of 81.2 billion yen (605 million U.S. dollars) in electronic equipment in the second half of 2022, local media said on Sunday.

The trade deficit in electronics marks the first time on record that imports have exceeded exports for a half-year period amid a decline in the competitiveness of Japanese products, Kyodo News reported, citing government data.

The value of exports of electronic equipment in the six months through December came to 9.23 trillion yen, up 13.9 percent from the first six months, while imports jumped 17.2 percent to 9.31 trillion yen, according to the Finance Ministry’s trade data.

The first red ink since comparable data became available in 1988 underscores a stark contrast to the 1990s, when the industry propped up Japan’s trade with an annual surplus of almost 8 trillion yen, the report said.

Imports of electronics in the July-December period last year increased 9.1 times while exports only grew 1.8 times, compared with the second half of 1991, when Japan posted a record half-year trade surplus of 4.17 trillion yen, it added.

Japan’s trade balance has been on a downward trend since the late 2000s, with the global financial crisis in 2008 driving Japanese electronics companies to shift their production bases overseas to cut back costs. ■

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