Japan: Exports contract for third consecutive month in February
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.