Japan Trade Balance Swings to Surplus

Japan recorded a ¥242.8 billion surplus in February of 2016, compared with a ¥426 billion deficit a year earlier but missing market consensus of ¥388.6 billion surplus. Exports dropped by a higher-than-expected 4 percent on the year, due to lower shipments of manufactured goods; while imports shrank at a faster 14.2 percent, as purchases of mineral fuels dropped the most.

Exports dropped 4 percent to ¥5703.4 billion from ¥5940.8 billion in February last year. Among main export parterns, sales to South Korea (-9 percent), Taiwan (-5.3 percent), Hong Kong (-14.2 percent) and Thailand (-18.1 percent) dropped sharply, while those to the United States (+0.2 percent) and China (+5.1 percent) went up.

By product, shipments of manufactured goods contributed the most to the decline (-12.7 percent), specially iron and steel products (-24.1 percent), followed by electrical machinery (-4.8 percent), mineral fuels (-29.3 percent) and machinery (-2.4 percent), mainly metalworking machinery (-23.2 percent). By contrast, sales of transport equiment rose 0.9 percent, mainly due to lower sales of cars (+2.5 percent).

Imports slumped 14.2 percent year-on-year to ¥5460.6 billion from ¥6366.8 billion and marking the 14th straight month of decline. Purchases from China (-20.8 percent), South Korea (-13.5 percent), Taiwan (-8.9 percent), Thailand (-4 percent) and Indonesia (-8.2 percent) fell the most while those from the Middle East and Middle South America plunged 35.1 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. However, imports from the United States grew 5.1 percent and those from Western Europe rose by 13.3 percent. Purchases of mineral fuels dropped the most by 35.9 percent, as petroleum and petroleum products fell 33.3 percent and 31.8 percent each.

Japan Trade Balance Swings to Surplus

Ministry of Finance | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
3/17/2016 12:48:12 AM