Japan Trade February 2019


Japan: Exports contract for third consecutive month in February

February 20, 2019

Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports fell 1.2% year-on-year in February, following the 8.4% decrease in January. The contraction was larger than the 0.9% drop that market analysts had expected. The decline reflected subdued global demand, especially from Asia.

Meanwhile, imports contracted 6.7% in annual terms in February, following the 0.8% decline in January. The decline exceeded the 5.8% decrease expected by market analysts.

As a result of the sharp contraction in imports, the merchandise trade balance rose from zero in February 2018 to a surplus of JPY 0.3 trillion in February 2019 (January 2019: JPY 1.4 trillion deficit). Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade deficit fell from JPY 1.7 trillion in January to JPY 1.3 trillion deficit in February.

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.


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Japan Trade Chart

Japan Trade12m February 2019

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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