In June, Japan recorded its first trade surplus in three months, confirming that the world's third-largest economy is recovering from the 11 March disaster, as supply-chain constraints and production disruptions begin to ease. Exports fell 1.6% over the same month last year (May: -10.3% year-on-year), which came in above market expectations of a 4.1% decline. On the other hand, imports remained strong, climbing 9.8% (May: +12.3% yoy), which was, nevertheless, below the 11.0% rise anticipated by markets. As a result, the trade balance registered a positive reading of JPY 71 billion (USD 853 million) compared with the deficit of JPY 856 billion tallied in May. Motor vehicle exports, which account for around 13% of total shipments, continued to drag down overall exports falling 12.5% over the same month last year, but recovering markedly from the 38.9% drop recorded in May and the 67.0% plunge in April. Exports to China, Japan's largest trade partner, grew 1.2%. On the other hand, imports of petroleum, which account for around 15% of total purchases, soared 30.1%. Japan's demand for petroleum is rising, as the countries' fuel-based power plants try to compensate for the loss in nuclear power generation. A monthly analysis corroborates the improvement seen in annual figures, with exports expanding a seasonally adjusted 5.4% over the previous month, which followed on a revised 2.2% increase tallied in May. Meanwhile, imports added a paltry 0.5% over the previous month, slowing from May's 2.3% expansion. The recovery in the external sector has been quicker than initially expected as the manufacturing industry is rapidly returning to pre-quake levels. However, the strength of the yen, which is moving to near record-high levels, may jeopardize the recovery in the Japanese export industry going forward.
Japan Trade Balance
Trade balance swings to positive as industry recovers from quake damages
July 21, 2011
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Japan Economic News
October 12, 2016
Core machinery orders (a leading indicator of capital spending over a three- to six-month period) declined for the first time in three months in August.
October 4, 2016
Consumer sentiment rose from August’s 42.0 to 43.0 in September.
October 3, 2016
According to the Bank of Japan’s quarterly TANKAN business survey, sentiment among large manufacturers was stable at 6 in Q3.
September 30, 2016
In August, the core consumer price index was flat compared to the previous month, which was above the 0.2% decline in July.
September 30, 2016
In August, industrial production expanded 1.5% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, which contrasted July’s 0.4% decrease (previously reported: 0.0% month-on-month).