Japan: Export growth gains steam in April
Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports increased 7.8% in annual terms in April, accelerating from March’s 2.1% rise. The result, however, fell short of market expectations of an 8.7% increase. Export growth in April was supported by stronger shipments of transport equipment, particularly motor vehicles and machinery. The print points to renewed momentum in the second quarter following the slowdown registered in the first quarter.
Imports expanded 5.9% on an annual basis in April, contrasting the 0.6% contraction recorded in March and coming in below market expectations of a 9.8% rise. The acceleration was driven by increased imports of machinery and mineral fuels, especially oil.
The merchandise trade balance fell from a JPY 797 billion surplus in March to a JPY 626 billion surplus in April, in light of the rebound in import growth. Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade surplus rose to JPY 2.6 trillion in April, up from the JPY 2.5 trillion surplus recorded in the previous month.