Japan: Trade surplus declines further in April
Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports fell 2.4% year-on-year in April, matching March’s result. The result was the fifth consecutive contraction and was larger than the 1.6% drop that market analysts had expected. The contraction mostly reflected weak global demand, especially from China.
Meanwhile, imports expanded 6.4% in annual terms in April, following the 1.2% rise in March. The result came in above the 4.8% increase expected by market analysts.
As a result of the sharp expansion in imports, the merchandise trade surplus fell from JPY 0.6 trillion in April 2018 to JPY 0.1 trillion in April 2019 (March 2019: JPY 0.5 trillion surplus). Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade deficit rose from JPY 1.6 trillion in March to JPY 2.1 trillion in April.