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Japanese exports drop 15% in August as coronavirus pummels trade [Video]

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Containers are piled up at a port in Yokohama, Japan, on June 17, 2020.

Koji Sasahara/The Associated Press

Japan’s trade surplus widened in August as the pandemic pummeled a wide array of industries and sapped consumer demand.

The 15 per cent drop in exports from a year earlier was outpaced by a more than 20 per cent decline in imports, according to preliminary data from the Finance Ministry released Wednesday.

In one rare bright spot, exports to China rose 5 per cent. But both exports and imports with the U.S. fell more than 20 per cent, helping reduce the politically sensitive trade surplus by 20 per cent to 373 billion yen ($3.5 billion).

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Many Japanese manufacturers provide chemicals, equipment and components for products assembled in China. Robust exports have helped drive growth in recent years but suffered as China’s economy slowed and the pandemic took hold.

The pace of the decline in exports has …

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