Japan: Exports expand at fastest pace in three years
September 19, 2013
In August, nominal yen exports rose 14.7% over the same month last year, overshooting the 12.2% increase recorded in July. The print marked the fastest expansion since August 2010 and beat market expectations of a 14.5% increase. In the 12 months up to August, exports were 1.9% above the level recorded in the same period last year (July: +0.3% year-on-year) and now sit at the highest point in two years.
Imports increased 16.0% in annual terms in August, following the 19.6% rise tallied in July. The print did, however, undershoot market expectations of an 18.5% expansion. The rise in imports was mainly influenced by higher fuel purchases as a result of a weak yen and the ongoing shutdown of nuclear plants, as well as the hot summer the country is experiencing.
The trade balance registered a JPY 960 billion deficit (USD 9.8 billion) in August, which marks a deterioration over the JPY 768 billion shortfall (USD 7.8 billion) observed in the same month last year. Accordingly, the trailing 12-month sum of the trade deficit widened from JPY 9.4 trillion in July to JPY 9.6 trillion in August, marking yet another record high.