Japan: Exports contract for sixth consecutive month in May on rising global trade tensions
June 20, 2019
Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports fell 7.8% year-on-year in May, below April’s 2.4% decline. The result was the sixth consecutive contraction and was slightly larger than the 7.7% drop that market analysts had expected. The contraction came amid escalating trade tensions between China and the United States.
Meanwhile, imports fell 1.5% in annual terms in May. The reading contrasted both the 6.5% rise in April and the 0.2% increase expected by market analysts.
As a result of the sharp decline in exports, the merchandise trade deficit fell from JPY 0.6 trillion in May 2018 to JPY 1.0 trillion in May 2019 (April 2019: JPY 0.1 trillion surplus). Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade deficit rose from JPY 2.2 trillion in April to JPY 2.5 trillion in May.
Japan Trade Balance Forecast
Our panelists forecast that exports will expand 2.8% in 2019 and imports will rise 1.2%, bringing the trade surplus to USD 1.6 billion. In 2020, FocusEconomics panelists expect exports will expand 4.7%, while imports will rise 5.3%, bringing down the trade balance to a USD 2.7 billion deficit.