Japan: Yen-denominated merchandise exports rise at weaker rate in December
Yen-denominated merchandise exports rose 11.5% annually in December, following Novembers 20.0% upturn. Decembers result marked the slowest growth since January, but slightly exceeded market expectations. Meanwhile, merchandise imports increased 20.6% on an annual basis in December (November: +30.3% yoy), marking the weakest reading since April 2021.
As a result, the merchandise trade deficit fell to JPY 1.4 trillion in December from JPY 2.0 trillion in November (December 2021: JPY 0.6 trillion).
According to an estimate by Nomura, real exports fell 4.2% in seasonally adjusted month-on-month terms in December. This was largely driven by a contraction in exports to China amid an explosion in Covid-19 cases. Over Q4 as a whole, Nomura estimate that real exports rose 0.3% qoq s.a., which would mark a rapid slowdown in growth compared to Q3 (2.1% qoq s.a.).