Japan: Exports rebound strongly in December
January 25, 2017
Exports rebounded in December, putting an end to fourteen consecutive months of decline. The sharp depreciation of the yen in the final months of 2016 and improving global demand were behind December’s rise in exports. Nominal exports valued in yen rose 5.4% from the same month of the previous year in December, contrasting November’s 0.4% drop. The print exceeded the 1.1% increase that market analysts had expected.
Imports contracted 2.6% annually in December, which was above November’s 8.8% drop. The decline was worse than the 0.8% drop that the markets had expected but represented the softest contraction in two years.
As a result, the trade balance recorded a JPY 641 billion surplus (USD 5.6 billion) in December. The reading overshot the JPY 139 billion deficit registered in the same month of the previous year. In the 12 months up to December, the trade surplus rose to JPY 4.1 trillion, which was up from the JPY 3.6 trillion recorded in the previous month and represented the highest reading since April 2011.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which counted Japan among its signatories, is casting a long shadow on Japan’s trade outlook.