The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Japan's US-bound exports overtake China shipments


TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's US-bound exports overtook shipments to China last month, official data showed on Wednesday, as a new government in Tokyo vows to stand its ground in a bitter diplomatic dispute with Beijing.

Shipments to China tumbled 14.5 per cent in November as demand for everything from cars to construction equipment fell away, while an improving US economy helped boost the flow of Japanese goods 5.3 per cent on-year.

The result pushed exports to the US ahead of those to China for the first time in nearly a year, although Beijing remained Tokyo's biggest overall trade partner despite their simmering dispute over an East China Sea island chain.

The data "reflects the soundness of the US economy and brisk sales of Japanese cars there, but whether US exports will keep this pace depends on the settlement of the fiscal cliff," said Ms Ayumi Maekawa, senior economist at Tokyo-based Mizuho Research Institute, referring to the US budgetary impasse.