TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports slipped for a 15th straight month in February as U.S. and China-bound shipments declined, suggesting a cooling of business activity in the world’s third-largest economy due to the coronavirus outbreak. Imports from China fell at their fastest pace since 1986 after the virus, which has killed more than 7,000 people worldwide, led to a widespread shutdown of production in the region’s largest economy. Ministry of Finance (MOF) data out on Wednesday showed Japan’s exports fell 1.0% from a year earlier in February, dragged by U.S.-bound shipments of cars and metal processing machinery to China. It was the 15th straight month of contraction, marking the longest such run since a 23-month stretch to July 1987 when the height of the country’s stock market and real estate bubble was not yet reached, Refinitiv data showed. The fall was also smaller than a 4.3% decline expected by economists, and followed a 2.6% decrease in January. The data offers the strongest evidence yet of the growing economic impact coronavirus crisis. Many companies complained about the closing of factories in China and declining trade with Asia’s largest economy in a Reuters survey published on Wednesday. That followed a survey the… Read full this story
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