Japan Trade August 2019


Japan: Exports contract at fastest pace in seven months in August

September 18, 2019

Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports fell 8.2% year-on-year in August, the ninth consecutive decline. Although the print exceeded the 1.5% drop in July, it was better than the 10.0% contraction expected by market analysts. The result mainly reflected sharp declines in exports to emerging-market economies, especially China.

Meanwhile, imports fell 12.0% in annual terms in August, down from the 1.2% drop in July. The reading also exceeded the 10.7% decline expected by market analysts and was mainly the result of lower imports of energy, including coal, gas and oil.

The merchandise trade deficit fell from JPY 0.4 trillion in August 2018 to JPY 0.1 trillion in August 2019 (July: JPY 0.3 trillion surplus). Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade deficit declined from July’s JPY 2.7 trillion to JPY 2.4 trillion in August.

Our panelists forecast that exports will decline 0.7% compared to last year’s reading in 2019 and imports will rise 1.1% compared to the previous year, bringing the trade balance to post a surplus of USD 0.9 billion. In 2020, FocusEconomics panelists expect exports to expand 3.1%, while imports will rise 4.1%, prompting the trade balance to swing to a deficit of USD 6.4 billion.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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Japan Trade Chart

Japan Trade12m August 2019 0

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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