Japan Trade February 2016


Japan: February's softer drop in exports prompts trade balance to record largest surplus in over four years

March 17, 2016

In February, nominal exports valued in yen declined 4.0% over the same month last year, which followed the 12.9% decrease recorded in January. The fall exceeded the 3.0% drop that market analysts had expected. Soft global demand, particularly from Asia, continues to weight on Japan’s exports.

Imports contracted 14.2% annually in February. The print was better than both the 17.8% drop tallied in January and the 15.2% decrease that market analysts had expected. Imports continued to decline at double-digit rates due to the fall in energy prices.

As a result, the trade balance recorded a JPY 243 billion surplus (USD 2.2 billion) in February. The reading contrasted the JPY 426 billion shortfall tallied in the same month of the previous year and marked the largest surplus since September 2011. In the 12 months up to February, the trade deficit was JPY 1.6 trillion, which was down from the JPY 2.3 trillion shortfall that was recorded in the previous month and represented the smallest deficit since October 2011.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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Japan Trade Chart

Japan Trade12m February 2016

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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