Japan Trade Balance December 2020


Japan: Exports grow for first time in 24 months in December

January 21, 2021

Yen-denominated merchandise exports edged up 2.0% in annual terms in December following 24 consecutive months of declining exports (November: -4.2% year-on-year). Moreover, December’s outturn marked the best result since October 2018. Meanwhile, imports plummeted 11.6% in annual terms in December (November: -11.1% yoy). Regarding 2020 as a whole, exports fell 11.1% year-on-year (2019: -5.6% yoy), while imports fell 13.8% (2019: -5.0% yoy).

As a result, the merchandise trade surplus rose to JPY 0.8 trillion from JPY 0.4 trillion in November (December 2019: JPY 0.2 trillion deficit). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a JPY 0.7 trillion surplus in December, compared to the JPY 0.2 billion deficit in November.

Our panelists forecast that exports will increase 11.4% in 2021 and imports will increase 9.3%, bringing the trade balance to a surplus of USD 4.0 billion. In 2022, our panelists expect exports to expand 7.9% and imports to expand 6.8%, increasing the trade surplus to USD 11.8 billion.

Author:, Economist

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Japan Trade Balance Chart

Japan Trade12m December 20 20

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports in %.
Source: Ministry of Finance and FocusEconomics calculations.

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