Japan Trade

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Japan: Exports continue to disappoint, casting doubts on country's recovery

July 24, 2014

In June, nominal yen exports fell 2.0% over the same month last year, which followed the 2.7% decrease recorded in May. The decline contrasted the 1.0% increase that market analysts had expected. Analysts warn that the unexpected drop in shipments may signal that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy to weaken the yen has failed to boost export growth.

Imports jumped 8.4% in annual terms in June. Although the print marked a significant improvement over the 3.5% drop tallied in May, it was in line with market expectations. In addition, the print represented the largest expansion in three months. Data for June reflected that imports recovered quickly from the sales-tax increase that took effect on 1 April, which had dampened consumer demand for overseas products. Purchases of mineral fuel continue to run high due to the ongoing shutdown of nuclear plants triggered by the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011.

The trade balance registered a JPY 822 billion deficit (USD 8.1 billion) in June, which marked an improvement over the JPY 911 billion shortfall tallied in the previous month, but was much larger than the JPY 181 billion deficit recorded in the same month last year. The trailing 12-month sum of the trade balance deteriorated in June, widening from the previous month’s JPY 13.6 trillion to 14.3 trillion, which represented yet another record high.


Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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Japan Trade Chart


Japan Trade12m June 2014

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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