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Japan Trade April 2023

Japan: Yen-denominated merchandise exports rise less in April

Yen-denominated merchandise exports climbed 2.6% annually in April (March: +4.3% year on year). April’s outturn marked the softest growth since February 2021. Meanwhile, merchandise imports decreased 2.3% over the same month last year in April (March: +7.3% yoy), marking the weakest reading since January 2021.

As a result, the merchandise trade deficit decreased to JPY 0.4 trillion in April from the previous month’s JPY 0.8 trillion (April 2022: JPY 0.9 trillion).

After adjusting for seasonality, Nomura estimates that merchandise exports rose 3.4% month on month in real terms in April—suggesting the external sector is performing well so far in Q2. Data for May and June will depend on the strength of the economic recovery of China, Japan’s top trading partner. Recent data suggests China’s economy performed below expectations in April, boding poorly for Japanese exports ahead.

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