Japan: Trade balance deficit continues to widen as fuel imports soar
November 20, 2013
In October, nominal yen exports rose 18.6% over the same month last year, overshooting the 11.5% increase recorded in September. The increase exceeded the 16.5% rise that market analysts had expected and marked the largest gain since July 2010. In the 12 months up to October, exports were 5.9% above the level recorded in the same period last year (September: +3.8% year-on-year) and now sit at the highest point in over two years.
Imports increased 26.1% in annual terms in October, following the 16.5% rise tallied in September. The print beat market expectations of a 19.0% rise and represented the strongest expansion since June 2010. 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.
The trade balance registered a JPY 1.1 trillion deficit (USD 11 billion) in October. The print represents a deterioration over the JPY 934 billion shortfall observed in the pervious month and marks the 16th consecutive month of trade deficit. Accordingly, the trailing 12-month sum of the trade deficit widened from JPY 9.9 trillion in September to JPY 10.5 trillion in October, marking yet another record high.