Japan: Exports rebound in October as the economy recovers from natural disasters
Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports rose 8.2% year-on-year in October, contrasting the 1.3% decrease in September. The print, however, was below the 9.0% increase that market analysts had expected. September’s decrease was the result of disruptions related to an earthquake in Hokkaido and the passage of Typhoon Jebi in the region of Osaka and Kyoto.
Meanwhile, import growth accelerated markedly from 7.0% in September to 19.9% in October, overshooting market expectations of a 14.5% increase. The print reflected stronger purchases of petroleum.
As a result of the surge in imports, the merchandise trade balance swung from a JPY 0.3 trillion surplus in October 2017 to a deficit of JPY 0.4 trillion in October 2018 (September 2018: JPY 0.1 trillion surplus). Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade surplus fell from JPY 0.8 trillion in September to JPY 0.1 trillion in October, marking the lowest reading in over two years.