Year-on-year, outbound shipments dropped by 6.9 percent to 5,968.43 JPY billion, following a 9.6 percent fall in August while market expected a 10.4 percent decline. It was the 12th straight month of decline as sales to most of the country's main export partners declined. Those to China decreased by 10.6 percent, followed by Hong Kong (-18.7 percent), South Korea (-1.6 percent), Singapore (-21.2 percent), Thailand (-9.6 percent), Malaysia (-7.7 percent), Indonesia (-3.5 percent), Vietnam (-0.2 percent) and India (-1.0 percent). Sales to the US decreased by 8.7 percent, the Middle East (-10.8 percent), Russia (-4.9 percent) and South Africa (-24.9 percent). In contrast, exports rose to Western Europe (+ 2.5 percent) and the EU countries (+0.7 percent).
By product, sales declined for: raw materials (-19.7 percent), mineral fuels (-34.0 percent), chemicals (-7.2 percent, mainly due to organic chemicals: -23.6 percent and medical products: -20.6 percent), manufactured goods (-13.3 percent), machinery (-2.1 percent, mostly due to power generating machine: -5.1 percent, computers and units: -10.0 percent), parts of computers: -12.2 percent, metalworking machinery: -16.4 percent and mechanical handling equipment: -20.4 percent), electrical machinery (-9.9 percent, contributed by semiconductors: -11.8 percent, visual apparatus: -13.8 percent and visual apparatus: -11.9 percent ), transport equipment (-6.0 percent) and others (-1.0 percent).
Imports fell 16.3 percent to 5,470.09 JPY billion, compared to a 17.3 percent drop in a month earlier while market estimated a 16.6 percent drop. It was the 21st consecutive month of decline as purchases from most of the country's trading partners decreased. Imports from China dropped by 16.7 percent, followed by Hong Kong (-9.8 percent), Taiwan (-10.1 percent), South Korea (-18.1 percent), Singapore (-27.2 percent), Thailand (-14.8 percent), Malaysia (-20.8 percent), Indonesia (-19.8 percent) and India (-18.8 percent). Those from the US decreased by 6.1 percent, Western Europe (-4.6 percent), Russia (-29.3 percent), the EU countries (-3.7 percent), the Middle East (-30.9 percent) and South Africa (-11.1 percent).
Purchases declined for most categories: foodstuff (-11.9 percent), raw materials (-13.1 percent, mainly due to wood: -7.4 percent, ore of nonferrous: -22.1 percent, iron ore and concentrates: -3.6 percent and soybeans: -8.9 percent), mineral fuels (-33.6 percent, largely due to petroleum: -28.6 percent, petroleum products: -49.6 percent, LNG: -40.1 percent: LPG -44.0 percent and coal: -18.1 percent), chemicals (-11.3 percent), manufactured goods (-13.6 percent), machinery (-12.0 percent), electrical machinery (-11.0 percent) and others (-13.6 percent). In contrast, inbound shipments were higher for transport equipment (+3.4 percent, mainly due to aircraft: +111.2 percent).
In August 2016, the country posted a 19.2 JPY billion trade gap.