Japan quake to affect manufacturing industry

A laborer makes heavy-duty equipment at a workshop in China.

Jeremy Hobson: Now to our continuing coverage of the tragedy in Japan. The economic effects are already being felt across Asia.

As the BBC's Rebecca Singer reports production stoppages in Japan have some other countries stepping in to fill the void.


Rebecca Singer: Japan is famous for its electronics -- and so increasingly is South Korea. And with a shutdown in Japanese manufacturing, Korean companies are already feeling the benefit as customers look for alternative supplies.

But longer term supply problems could be a major headache for countries like Taiwan and China. They rely on imports of Japanese components to assemble final products.

Stephen Joske's from the Economist Intelligence Unit in Beijing and says manufacturing there has already been affected.

Stephen Joske: There's already been a clear impact in terms of the high-end electronics and a lot of the components for Japanese manufactured goods in China. We've already noticed the price of Japanese consumer goods for some items in low stock have risen quite rapidly already.

The one country which stands to benefit the most is Australia. Japan's suffering from major power shortages, so for energy, it will most likely turn to Australia's supply of coal and gas. And as Japan begins to rebuild, it will need lots of steel and will rely heavily on Australia for its iron-ore and coking coal.

I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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