Japan: Trade deficit widens in March amid export slump
April 21, 2014
In March, nominal yen exports rose 1.8% over the same month last year, which was notably weaker than the 9.8% increase recorded in February. The increase, which far undershot the 6.3% increase that market analysts had expected, was the weakest in 12 months. The result suggests that a weak yen did not compensate for sluggish external demand.
Imports expanded 18.1% in annual terms in March, more than doubling the 9.0% increase recorded in February. The increase came in above the 16.2% expansion that market analysts had expected. That said, fossil-fuel imports continue to run high due to the ongoing shutdown of nuclear plants that followed the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011.
The trade balance registered a JPY 1.4 trillion deficit (USD 14.1 billion) in March, which marked a deterioration over the JPY 800 billion shortfall tallied in the previous month and the JPY 357 billion deficit recorded in the same month last year. This marks the 21st consecutive month of trade deficit. The trailing 12-month sum of the trade deficit widened from JPY 12.7 trillion in February to JPY 13.7 trillion in March, marking yet another record high.