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Japan Trade April 2024

Japan: Merchandise exports rise for fifth consecutive month in April

Yen-denominated merchandise exports rose 8.3% year on year in April (March: +7.3% yoy). As a result, exports expanded for the fifth consecutive month, despite undershooting market expectations for the first time in this streak of expansions. Strong shipments of cars and semiconductors continued to drive growth. Meanwhile, merchandise imports rose 8.3% on an annual basis in April (March: +5.1% yoy).

As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a JPY 0.5 trillion deficit in April (March 2024: JPY 0.4 trillion surplus; April 2023: JPY 0.4 trillion deficit).

After slumping in Q1, the volume of exports of goods and services should rebound in seasonally adjusted terms in Q2, bolstered by a rise in global demand for electronics, plus the reopening of a Toyota subsidiary and a recovery from an earthquake in January.

Analysts at Nomura commented:

“After making adjustments for inflation and seasonality, we estimate that real exports increased by 2.8% m-m in April 2024, rising for a second consecutive month.”

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