Japan: Trade deficit in 2015 narrows on lower energy prices
January 24, 2016
In December, nominal exports valued in yen declined 8.0% over the same month of the previous year, which followed the 3.3% decrease recorded in November. The fall exceeded the 7.0% drop that market analysts had expected and represented the sharpest contraction since September 2012.
Imports contracted 18.0% annually in December, which followed the 10.2% drop tallied in November. The print was below the 16.4% decrease that market analysts had expected and represented the steepest contraction since October 2009. Imports continued to decline at double-digit rates due to the fall in energy prices.
As a result, the trade balance recorded a JPY 140 billion surplus (USD 1.2 billion) in December. The reading was better than both the JPY 666 billion shortfall tallied in the same month the previous year and the JPY 117 billion surplus that economists had expected. In the full year 2015, the trade deficit was JPY 2.8 trillion, which was down from the JPY 12.8 trillion shortfall that was recorded in 2014.