Carmakers yet to feel full impact of Japan crisis

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 April, 2011, 12:00am


The crisis in Japan might take a heavy toll on China's vehicle industry in May, as automobile component exports from Japan fall and mainland companies use up existing stocks.

'It takes about 20 to 40 days for the sea shipping to arrive in China ... Until a while ago, they [Chinese vehicle manufacturers] still received the shipments which departed from Japan's port before the earthquake,' said Tomo Kinoshita, Nomura's deputy head of economics, Asia excluding Japan. 'So the real impact is likely to occur some time soon.'

Japan's deadly earthquake took place on March 11, six weeks ago.

Almost one-fifth of passenger sedan vehicles sold in China last year came from Japanese manufacturers, including joint-venture companies, according to data from CEIC and Nomura. But the mainland will not be hit as hard as Thailand and Taiwan, which rely heavily on Japan for car imports, Kinoshita told a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce conference yesterday.

More than 92 per cent of passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Thailand and more than 84 per cent in Taiwan were produced by Japanese companies or joint ventures. Taiwan and Thailand also depended heavily on imports from Japan in other sectors such as electronics. More than one-fifth of imports into Taiwan and Thailand came from Japan last year.

However, Kinoshita said Japan's reconstruction would create export opportunities for Asian countries, especially in construction materials.

Nomura forecast Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) will rise 3.1 per cent in 2012, based on reconstruction demand, 0.8 percentage point higher than its forecast before the earthquake. It expects Japan's GDP growth to slow to 0.4 per cent this year, 0.9 percentage points lower than its original estimate.