New figures from the Japanese government have revealed the country's exports fell for the first time in over two years in July, raising concerns about the strength of the nation's economy.
Data from the Ministry of Finance showed that last month, overall exports fell by 0.3 percent year-on-year, compared with a rise of 1.5 percent for the previous month, Reuters reports.
Exports were particularly weighed down by weaker demand from China for microchips, cars and steel products. Shipments to China fell by 13.4 percent year-on-year, following on from a 10.9 percent drop in June.
There was some good news for Japanese exporters trading with the US, as shipments to the country rose by 13.5 percent year-on-year in July, recording the highest value on record. This was led by exports of electric vehicles and car parts and came after a 11.7 percent rise in the previous month.
However, the stronger trans-Pacific performance was not enough to offset reduced trade with China. Chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute, Takeshi Minami told Reuters that the weakness in the Chinese market is set to remain, while demand in Europe and America is not expected to accelerate further.
Reuters also noted that politicians in Japan have been looking to exports in order to make up for a drop in domestic demand caused by higher prices. However, signs of a sharper global downturn have raised worries about the future outlook.
The World Bank has also warned that higher interest rates and tighter credit will take a bigger toll on global growth in 2024.
Meanwhile, a survey of Japanese manufacturers by the Cabinet Office has forecast that core orders will fall by 2.6 percent in the third quarter of the year, which also suggests rising pressure on the country's economy.