Japan Trade Surplus Narrows in March

Japan posted a trade surplus of JPY 529 billion in March 2019 compared with a JPY 784 billion surplus in the same month a year earlier and beating market expectations of a JPY 372 billion surplus. Exports declined for a fourth straight month while imports increased below expectations.

Exports declined 2.4 percent from a year earlier to JPY 7.20 trillion, compared to market consensus of a 2.7 percent drop and after a 1.2 percent fall in February. It was the fourth straight month of falls in shipments, amid weakening global demand and the US-China trade dispute. Shipments fell sharply for: machinery (-5.4 percent), namely textile machines (-22.6 percent) and metalworking machinery (-16.9 percent); manufactured goods (-6.8 percent) such as iron & steel products (-9.6 percent) and nonferrous metals (-12.9 percent); electrical machinery (-5.2 percent), including semiconductors (-7.6 percent) and others (-4.3 percent). In contrast, overseas sales rose for transport equipment (2.4 percent), namely cars (1.5 percent), ships (54.6 percent) and aircraft (10.7 percent); and chemicals (0.6 percent).

Among main trade partners, exports decreased to China (-9.4 percent), South Korea (-9.0 percent), Australia (-24.1 percent), Malaysia (-13.7 percent), and Indonesia (-13.8 percent). In contrast, exports to the United States rose 4.4 percent.

Imports rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier to JPY 6.67 trillion, below market expectations of a 2.6 percent increase and following a 6.7 percent drop in the previous month. Purchases advanced primarily for electrical machinery (5 percent); others (8 percent), of which clothing & accessories (15 percent); chemicals (2.4 percent); manufactured goods (5.7 percent); foodstuff (2 percent) and transport equipment (0.4 percent). In contrast, imports declined for mineral fuels (-4 percent); raw materials (-5.2 percent) and machinery (-2.5 percent).

Among main trade partners, purchases from Australia surged 22.3 percent and from China 10.9 percent. In contrast, imports from the United States edged down 0.2 percent.

Japan Trade Surplus Narrows in March

Ministry of Finance l Mario | mario@tradingeconomics.com
4/17/2019 10:54:41 AM