Japan Trade Surplus Narrows Sharply in February

Japan's trade surplus narrowed 99.6 percent to JPY 3 billion in February 2018 from JPY 805 billion in the same month a year earlier, but beating market expectations of a JPY 100 billion deficit.

Imports jumped 16.5 percent from the previous year to JPY 6,460 billion in February, missing expectations of a 17.1 percent climb but above the 7.9 percent growth recorded in January. Imports rose mostly for: mineral fuels (10.8 percent), of which petroleum (2.5 percent), LNG (18.8 percent) and coal (4.7 percent); electrical machinery (12.3 percent), of which telephone sets (32.7 percent); others (22.3 percent), of which clothing and accessories (38.4 percent) and scientific, optical instruments (12.6 percent); machinery (21.2 percent); chemicals (22.9 percent); foodstuff (21.2 percent); manufactured goods (22.3 percent); and raw materials (20.3 percent). Meanwhile, imports of transport equipment fell 4.2 percent.

Among major trading partners, imports rose from China (39.2 percent), South Korea (17.9 percent), Taiwan (8.6 percent), Australia (18.4 percent), the US (5.2 percent), Germany (10.3 percent) and Saudi Arabia (18.3 percent).

Exports rose at a softer 1.8 percent to JPY 6,463 billion, following a 12.3 percent growth in January and compared to a consensus of 1.9 percent. Sales of transport equipment went up 11.4 percent, boosted by cars (17.9 percent), while those of machinery and electrical machinery dropped 0.6 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Exports rose to the EU (11.5 percent), the US (4.3 percent) and South Korea (0.7 percent), but fell to China (-9.7 percent) and Taiwan (-6.3 percent).

Japan Trade Surplus Narrows Sharply in February

Ministry of Finance, Japan | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
3/19/2018 12:40:44 AM