Japan: Trade balance records smallest deficit in 20 months in February
March 18, 2015
In February, nominal exports valued in yen expanded 2.4% over the same month last year, which represented a significant deceleration over the 17.0% increase recorded in January. The rise overshot the 0.3% expansion that market analysts had expected and represented the weakest pace of growth in six months.
Imports contracted again in February, falling 3.6% over the same month last year, which followed the 9.0% drop tallied in January. The print contrasted the 3.1% increase that market analysts had expected. Imports continue to fall as the decline in energy prices is cutting costs.
As a result of the drop in imports and the expansion in exports, the trade deficit narrowed to JPY 425 million (USD 3.5 billion) in February from JPY 806 million in the same month last year. Moreover, the print marked the smallest shortfall in 20 months and was less than the JPY 1.0 billion deficit economists had expected. In the 12 months up to February, the trade deficit was JPY 10.8 trillion, which was down from the JPY 11.2 trillion shortfall that was recorded in the previous month and represented the smallest deficit since November 2013.