Japan: Trade deficits worsens in January
February 20, 2017
Nominal exports valued in yen rose 1.3% from the same month last year in January, following December’s 5.4% increase. The print fell short of the 5.0% increase that market analysts had expected. Nevertheless, January’s rise represents the second expansion in a row following fourteen consecutive months of decline. The external sector is benefiting from a weak yen and stronger global demand.
Imports expanded 8.5% annually in January, which contrasted December’s 2.6% drop. The print exceeded the 4.8% rise that the markets had expected and represented the fastest expansion since June 2014. Higher prices for raw materials is behind January’s jump in imports.
As a result of the strong rise in imports, the trade balance recorded a JPY 1.1 trillion deficit (USD 9.6 billion) in January. The reading was worse than the JPY 648 billion deficit registered in the same month last year. In the 12 months up to January, the trade surplus fell to JPY 3.6 trillion, which was down from the JPY 4.1 trillion recorded in the previous month.