Japan: Exports accelerate in February, driven by Chinese demand
March 23, 2011
In February, exports increased 9.0% over the same month the year before, accelerating over the 1.4% increase registered in January. Meanwhile, imports expanded 10.0%, slower than the 12.4% recorded in January. Both results exceeded market expectations of exports rising 8.6% and imports expanding 4.4%.February figures were distorted by the Chinese New Year holidays. In the first two months of 2011 (to offset the seasonal effect), exports climbed 5.3% year-on-year while imports jumped 11.2%. Exports were pushed higher by surging purchases from China (+29.1% yoy), while shipments to the United States grew only by 2.0%. The trade balance swung to a surplus of JPY 653 billion (USD 82.5 billion), after the trade balance recorded the first deficit in two years in January. A monthly seasonally adjusted analysis confirms February's positive trend for exports. Exports advanced by 4.42% (January: -0.03% mom), while imports declined slightly -0.06% (January: +3.6% mom). March trade data that will partly show the extent of the earthquake-related disruptions in the external sector will be published on 25 April.