Japan: Exports growth weaker than expected in April
May 22, 2013
The strong depreciation of the Japanese yen, which is currently trading at the lowest level in four years, has prompted exports to recover in recent months, albeit at a slower pace than initially expected. In April, nominal yen exports rose 3.8% over the same month last year, following the 1.1% increase seen in March. Although the print marks the fastest expansion in three months, it undershot market expectations of a 5.9% increase. As a result, in the 12 months up to April, exports were 2.4% below the level recorded in the same period last year, which represents a deterioration over the 2.1% decline seen in the 12 months up to March.
Meanwhile, imports increased 9.4% in annual terms in April. The print followed the 5.6% rise tallied in March and surprised market analysts on the upside, as they had expected imports to expand 6.7%. As a result, the moving 12-month sum of imports rose 3.6% over the same period last year (March: +3.4% yoy).
Finally, the trade balance registered a JPY 880 billion deficit (USD 8.6 billion) in April, which was larger than the JPY 518 billion deficit observed in the same month last year and marks the 10th consecutive monthly shortfall. Accordingly, the trailing 12-month sum of the trade deficit rose from JPY 8.2 trillion in March to JPY 8.5 trillion in April.