Japan: External sector improves as yen slides
April 18, 2013
The strong depreciation of the Japanese yen witnessed in recent weeks is beginning to bear some fruit as nominal yen exports rose 1.1% in March over the same month last year, contrasting the 2.9% drop seen in February and exceeding market expectations of a 0.4% increase. Nevertheless, in the 12 months up to March, exports were 2.1% below the level recorded in the same period last year, which represents a deterioration over the 1.7% decline seen in February.
Meanwhile, imports increased 5.5% in annual terms in March. The print followed the 11.9% rise tallied in February and surprised market analysts on the downside, as they had expected imports expanding 6.3%. As a result, the moving 12-month sum of imports rose 3.4% over the same period last year (February: +3.8% yoy).
Finally, the trade balance registered a JPY 362 billion deficit (USD 3.7 billion) in March, which marks the ninth consecutive monthly shortfall. In addition, the print was well above the JPY 82 billion deficit observed in the same month last year. Accordingly, the trailing 12-month sum of the trade deficit widened from JPY 7.9 trillion in February to JPY 8.2 trillion in March.