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Hero to zero — exports turn to source of fragility in Asia

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NEW YORK - Exports have gone from a plus for Asia to a real drag. Almost daily, trade data from somewhere show a deterioration. Monday was Japan’s turn. Shipments dropped 1.2 percent in February from a year earlier, the third consecutive slide and twice the dip envisaged by economists.

Many people view Japan’s challenges as unique and the country as in a long-term fade. But it remains one of the biggest exporters and deeply enmeshed in the technology scene. Exports to South Korea tumbled 14 percent. South Korea itself dispatched 11.1 percent less stuff to the world.

For all Japan’s differences, there is a broader story. Decelerating global activity, trade tussles between the White House and Beijing, China’s longer-term slowdown and rising labor costs are eroding the........

© The Japan Times